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.
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