Saturday, February 07, 2009

how to build a cheap greenhouse

first off you must know that i collect stuff. i keep the extra stuff from jobs and store it in my messy garage. i also am on constant lookout for useful things that others might not want. all that said all my new green house cost me was a new tape measure. toly mangled two of my tape measures and rendered them useless--i needed a new one anyway.



i always knew that i wanted to use a couple of cattle panels as the arch support for my greenhouse. i did a little rough sketch and started. i didn't really know the optimal bend for the largest footprint and be tall enough to stand in. i played around with the bean arches. i decided that five and a half feet of floor space would be enough.



i had tristan and kassi pick off the dried bean vines still on the cattle panels. they started off great but needed a little encouragement toward the end. after finding a fairly flat spot i laid a course of cement block. i drove six steel pipes into the ground at a reasonable place to hold the base of the cattle panels. it took several attempts to find places that would drive down. the ozarks are very rocky.



i bowed my freshly cleaned cattle panels into place forcing the very top of the pipe to the inside to keep sharp edges from the plastic. i used baling string to tie it together. wire would work too but the string was free and doesn't have poky properties.



tying all those knots was a little rough on my fingers


see how the pipes go inside away from the plastic.


tristan was acting foreman since tabitha was documenting the occasion.


i pilfered an idea from mmp in this post. they used baling string to ensure desired the arch shape. i guess properly tied up the arch can sustain reasonable snow loads.

after tying the shape in spiderweb-spirograph fashion i had tabitha help pull the plastic over the arch. it held shape perfectly. notice that the plastic is re-purposed and is still stained from the previous greenhouse supports. bob has a greenhouse and it needed fresh plastic after an insurance claim. i ended up with the old stuff.

i had an old storm-door that i framed and attached to the arch.


tristan was a huge help. here i am using some of my store of zip ties to attach the plastic and cattle panel to the door frame that i cobbled together.


this ladder is not osha approved.


tristan is pretty good at keeping busy while i work.


here i have the plastic sides weighed down to be attached better later.


zip ties are critical for this task.


checkout the crisscrossing web holding the panel arch shape?


zip ties are tasty too.


here i took a length of pressure treated and cut notches for the steel pipes and screwed a board from the inside. this pressured the plastic in place.


i used 2x6's and screwed to the notched board from the previous photo.


my door had a broken glass and i cobbled something together to fill the gaping hole.

you can really see the stained plastic on the back.

i'll finish this side tomorrow.

rolling the plastic then piercing a small hole and zip tying it in place creates a nice gasket seal to the end pieces.

20 comments:

Rixa said...

I always love seeing your ingenuity at work. I guess I shouldn't feel so swamped with my small gardening projects I have to get done before the growing season; all I need to do is build raised beds and (if I have time & energy) dig up the soil from a friend who has several acres of forest. I'd much prefer that to just buying a load of topsoil.

Carla said...

You are so resourceful. I wish I could kick my husband in gear. I talked about a greenhouse a couple years ago.

Btw, is that melting snow on the ground and a shirtless child? I thought my kids were the only ones with broken thermostats.

Kevin and Beth said...

I am excited to see what you are going to plant in there. Have you already planned it?
Beth

Polar Bear and The Dodger said...

i am constantly using zip ties, they are so friggin' handy. i gotta get our greenhouse back up and running. looks great! cute helper, too.

cat said...

my husband is going to hate me when i show him this! ahhaha another project for us! after your hay rack we made one for the goats, it's not as pretty but i still need to paint it..;) we have a green house on the side of the house but wanted one down on the lower part of our property and this one seems to fit the bill..thanks for the inspiration once again! ;)

Matthew Daughters said...

Yes, resourceful and ingenious. One man's trash, another man's treasure, huh?
BTW, I notice you were wearing kneepads...

white_lilly said...

I love the idea of using the zip ties, very simple and easy. My hubby and I have a glass house we bought for $10 to put up and a green house to finish off with plastic. I have never used any of these before so I will be watching you use yours :)

warren said...

I don't think that has room for your bed for when you have to sleep out there...I usually go to the dog house but I like the idea of seeing the stars when I get kicked out!

tansy said...

it looks great! we have a frame of a greenhouse but the plastic on it is roached, greg needs to do something similar to our existing frame!

it's amazing how much better it is for growing plants than in the house. :)

Wendy said...

That's an awesome greenhouse! It looks like it should work really well, too. Can't wait to see it full of seedlings ;).

Shannon and Alex said...

Well done! We collect stuff too, but your's is ingenius!

Libad said...

Just getting into your site. Like it. And hey, I love the one bookshelf that looks like two intertwined. Would you share how it is made. I once saw one that held spices, made such as yours and would love to have one if I'm capable of building it. You got great pictures too here. I must find my camera or figure how to get a thousand off the old computer so I can learn to post some. My site it so barren right now.

karl said...

libad, i didn't take photos of the disassembled pieces. basically there are two slots 1/2 way through where the pieces overlap. i must admit it was tricky and a miter saw is critical. good luck

Farmer Dave said...

Hi Karl,

I am thinking of trying your greenhouse design. How long were the stock panels that you used. They come in 16' x 54" at the Tractor Supply store. Were yours that long?

Thanks,

Farmer Dave

build a mini greenhouse said...

You are doing a great job with the greenhouse! So resourceful you are!

Shirley said...

Can you tell us how much you had in $ in the project?

karl said...

shirley, i had all the stuff on hand for this. my cost was nothing. if i'd have paid for everything maybe $200. at home depot maybe $300...

Ozark Mountain Family said...

This must be man's creation at it's finest! I am thoroughly impressed by your use of materials. I'm sure the magazine 'Countryside' would love to have you write an article for them and include your pictures. There would soon be Karl greenhouses all over the country!

Chiot's Run said...

Nifty idea for an inexpensive greenhouse. We have a bunch of old windows we saved from a friend's house for a greenhouse project someday (and a nice 12 light glass door). Hopefully we'll actually have time to build it soon.

Chelle said...

Very resourceful of you! And looks good too...

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