The Day Pap Died
Empty Houses

How We Built Our Greenhouse

Starting tomatoes in the greenhouse from sow true seed

The Deer Hunter built our greenhouse back in 2011 and we're still loving it. It's so handy to have it in our backyard. Prior to having our own greenhouse I used one down the road a ways. It was nice to have somewhere to start my seedlings, but looking back it was a good thing when I wasn't able to use that one anymore and we had to bite the bullet and build our own. 

How to build a greenhouse
We decided a greenhouse 20 feet long would be plenty big enough for what we needed. First The Deer Hunter went looking through the scrap wood pile and found enough lumber to make the base/sides.

Building a greenhouse with pvc pipe
He had already bought 13 pieces of 3/4 X 20 foot pvc pipe, four- 4 X 4 posts, seven sheets 1/2 inch osb, and a roll of six mil clear plastic (we bought the wrong plastic-read the rest of the post to see why). 

He attached 11 of the pieces to the 2 sides. He added 2 pieces of pvc down the length of the piece that would make the hoop to add additional support.

How to build a cheap greenhouse
Next we raised it up. It took all four of us to get it into position, then we held it while The Deer Hunter made sure it was square and attached it to the ground with re-bar.

Easy to build greenhouse
He then framed in the ends securing them to the ground with 4 X 4 posts. He put a door in one end and a framed opening for an exhaust fan in the other. When he got to this point he decided to bring each end in two feet to make an over hang on each end which would help protect the wood framing.

Dyi greenhouse
After that-it was time for the plastic. We draped it over the hoops leaving about two feet extra on each side. He attached the plastic on each end with metal roofing screws-screwing it directly to the pvc.

With the help of the girls-and Ruby Sue-we buried the plastic on each side. After he built and installed the door, we had a greenhouse of our very own for a little less than two days work and 250 bucks.

In the following year we had a couple of hail storms that damaged the greenhouse plastic and a strong wind finished the plastic off. Turns out we didn't buy the right kind of plastic in the first place. 


Build a greenhouse at home

The Deer Hunter said we should look at having to recover the greenhouse as a learning experience and as a chance to change things we wished we'd done differently the first go around.

Pvc greenhouse
The second go around we bought plastic specifically made for greenhouses. Once the hail damaged the first type of plastic we used it began to give way at all the pressure points. After studying on the issue for a while The Deer Hunter came up with the idea of using foam pipe insulation to cover the pipe/wood areas that came in direct contact with the plastic. The pipe insulation will also help protect our spring seedlings as it seals off some of the air gaps too.

We've not had any other hiccups with our greenhouse and after 6 years of use I'm still loving it!


p.s. Yesterday I took Granny over to Pap's grave so we could put fresh flowers on it. It wasn't even raining at our house, but by the time we drove the short distance it was coming a down pour at the graveyard. We set in the car until it quit and as I was helping Granny walk to the grave Chitter said "Look-a rainbow!" The rainbow looked like it was right over Pap and Granny's house. I'd like to send a big THANK YOU out to each of you for letting me share Pap's death story and for sharing your comfort and wisdom with me. 

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Thank you for the details on this project, Tipper. I am still coming to grips with the fact that I can no longer just tackle any project myself, and expect a reasonable outcome. I'll read this over carefully and see if I might be able to do it with the assistance of my Occasional Helper.
I don't envy other people much but I admit I do envy you your greenhouse ;)

Tamela-thank you for the great comments! Yes the re-bar is perpendicular to the ground. I'm sure you could make it more secure for the wind issue by using more along the length. 

Tamela-the floor doesn't get mucky or wet at all it stays very dry. We put the greenhouse in a very sunny spot so it has almost a full day of soon. It does get hot hot hot-sometimes over a hundred degrees! The fan helps with the heat but during hot weather you wouldn't be able to stand being inside the greenhouse for long.

Ron-Thank you for all the great comments! I haven't gotten around to using the greenhouse to extend my growing season but I sure want too!

Tamela-we have a rain barrel about twenty foot from the greenhouse so I generally use that to water my plants with. I have seen those disposable cups-but haven't tried them. For a few years I made planting cups out of newspapers and planted the whole thing : )

Maggie-thank you for the comment! Only rarely do we get large snows-I wish we did though LOL : )

Nice, bet folks in the area would hire the BlindPig construction crew build them one. Hint, Hint..

I enjoyed the family greenhouse layout. The Deer Hunter is a fine carpenter and ain't afraid to take hold of a project. Pap told me once about his son-in-law driving up while he and some more guys were covering a building. The next thing he knew, the Deer Hunter had shimmeyed up there and was helping the guys nail down the top. ...Ken

Having grown up with parents that always had gardens, I always thought a greenhouse would have been wonderful. The Deerhunter did a wonderful job and looks like he had a good crew helping too.

One person with two hands and a few tools can accomplish a lot. Two people can accomplish more than twice as much even if one can't offer much more than willingness and encouragement. They's no telling what four eager souls can do!
I have two hands and a few tools. I don't have a greenhouse!

What fun you have a greenhouse you use and enjoy. There is something so calming and grounding to just walk inside one.
Do you get much snow there? Around here when people use pvc either the snow collapses it or the wind blows it down.

I am so envious of the greenhouse. I somehow manage beautiful plants using windows, lights, and a lot of carrying in and out. I guess it is a blessing because I get plenty of exercise The Deer Hunter did a wonderful job on his Greenhouse. I love the way we learn by experience.

I am so glad you are able to take Granny to Pap's grave. My Mother always looked forward to visiting Dad's grave. She used walker, so I took a lawn chair along, and she would have to stop and rest about half way there. The highlight was placing flowers there and making his final resting place beautiful. Later when she was unable to walk, I would take pictures to bring home and put on the laptop for her to view. Same with the garden because she loved a garden. When she was no longer able to walk to view my back yard garden, I simply loaded her in the car and drove the few feet right through yard to garden. She would peer at the garden asking questions until she grew tired. Actually. I enjoyed as much as she did. Enjoy you wonderful years with Granny!

Tipper, you have a very clever man.

I often wonder about Granny. I pray she is doing well.

Ethelene, that poem you posted yesterday is beautiful.

The rainbow was the perfect accent to a poignant family moment. And that greenhouse is a perfect example of self-sufficient living. With a little effort, Americans by the millions could reap a heap of fresh produce and a measure of self-satisfaction from backyard gardens. While a modest gardening movement has flourished in cities and suburbs, vegetable gardening seems to have strangely dwindled in rural areas.

for the time being - a few more questions: does the "floor" get mucky? Do you lay down something to walk on during the wet times? How hot and for how long does it get in your summers? Is it still tolerable in their with the exhaust fan running? Is it in a shady area?

Good for you all. Sounds just like farmstead living, don't be afraid to try, make it up yourself, recycle materials, learn by doing. Unfortunately, between codes, zoning and complaining folks, I don't know what would happen if I built one.

I need a greenhouse, or actually a green shelf. I'll have to think about scaling down to micro-mini farm size. I recently saw a rolling shelf with a pullover clear cover that might work for me but I'm concerned about venting the heat.

I know you start seedlings there but do you also get an extension on the growing season in the fall?

O.K. - just took a better look at the first picture again - framing explained! (I need to wake up!!)

PSS - what holds the chipboard together? I don't see framing for the pieces (I assume 4X8) in the fan end. The door framing must "connect" pieces in that end. What about water - run a hose there as needed or carry bucket/watering cans or . . . ?
PSSS - have you seen the decomposable starting cups on the internet? My daughter and her girls make starting cups out of newspaper and carboard (ie toilet paper, paper towels, wrapping paper) tubes. Just stick the whole thing in the ground.

Your Greenhouse is very practical - - and done and in use!! - - I'm jealous!!
I guess I'm dreaming too big. I have had plans sketched out for a combination potting shed/greenhouse including a compost tea tub large enough for making greater quantities of compost tea than a 5 gallon bucket or a 50 gallon drum would hold (think large horse trough, which, by the way, I hear make dandy raised beds also) - - but hubby has been "cogitating" over this for around 15 years and I'm still dreamin' - -sigh . . . .

P.S. Is the rebar perpendicular to the ground? I think we might need it at varied angles to cope with the vicious winds we sometimes get around here.

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