Simply Resourceful

Simple ways to be more conscious about how we use our resources.

A Large, Cheap and Easy Greenhouse For Under $300

The finished product
We've battled for years about spending a lot of money on a greenhouse. Most greenhouses that fit our growing needs cost $2000-4000. We just couldn't bring ourselves to cough up the money for that. Then Jon came across a Youtube video that used cattle panels as the skeleton and voila, we had a weekend project. The video that Jon watched will about make you nauseated (the camera jumps around everywhere) so we fast-forwarded through it and got the basic idea and went to town improvising the rest.  In the end, what we came up with has turned out to be fabulous and only cost us about $255.80.

Dimensions: 16 x 8 feet of growing pleasure
20x20' of greenhouse plastic*- $62.80 
2 Earth Anchors - $14
14 - 2x4x8's ($3/board) - $42
15 haybales - $45
Barrel Latch to hold window - $3
4 - 16x4' Cattle Panels: $80
24 - zip ties - $3
1 lb - 2 1/2" Wood Screws - $6
10' of pretty thick wire -  Leftover from another project
1 - Pipe insulation foam - Leftover from another project
10 Concrete blocks - Free - found them on the property
2 door hinges - Free - found them in a box of misc parts
5 old windows - Free - re-used from our previous home
Misc. scrap pallet wood - Free
* from Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply (RPK Tufflite IV) 
Leveling the foundation.
Notice the braces on the corners---they help with stability.

A trial set up in the garage. This was key in getting the length and angle for the support posts. To make the angle right, we held the full length 2x4 up and penciled the angle onto the 2x4 where the cattle panel intersected it.

Zip ties add stability between each panel.

Pipe insulation helps keep abrasion between plastic and panels to a minimum.
The skeleton is ready for plastic.

Earth anchors with old electric fence wire keep the structure anchored to the ground in strong winds.

Using the cinder blocks to raise the greenhouse off the ground allows Jon to stand up without hunching over.  The cinder blocks also keep the wood off the ground so they won't rot.  We did not use treated lumber. 

Looking good, we need some doors now.  Logs temporarily held the plastic down until the haybales arrived.
We probably didn't buy enough plastic (25 feet may have been a better choice), so we improvised.  We had some old windows laying around for cold frames and they happened to be wide enough to fill the door gap, so we just framed them in with 2x4's. We used scrap pieces of wood to ensure they didn't fall out and those subsequently also doubled as door handles.
Inside looking out the front door.

Blocks of wood screwed into cross pieces held the plastic in place. 

A latch was added to the back window for easy removal when we need more ventilation.

A view looking at the back window from the inside.

This is our Listada Vi Gandia Eggplant.  All but one plant died this summer from flea beetle damage.  This one finally made flowers, but now it's too cold to produce so Jon transplanted it inside the greenhouse and it is thriving!

Our friends who helped deliver the cattle panels in the back of their truck had a great idea  to use hay around the perimeter as insulation.  After a year of rain they will be added to the garden as mulch and replaced with new bales.
So majestic..


StMarys December 28, 2013 at 6:15 PM  

Great concept and thanks for sharing! This will be used by us this spring, as soon as the income tax return
comes in :-)

About this blog

A weekly update on our adventures of trying to be more self-sufficient by using resources wisely. We explore a variety of topics that most broadly fit in the "Homesteading" category, i.e. beekeeping, organic gardening, edible landscaping/fruit forest, food preservation/canning, woodworking, soap-making, and environmental stewardship.

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