A greenhouse is a wonderful tool for the gardener. It’s a place to start plants early and extend the plants life later in the season.
I use mine to start seedlings and cuttings. Yes, they can be started in your house but you spend more time setting up the right lighting. With a greenhouse you use Mother Natures lighting and may want to add additional lighting one in a while.
Another great use for the greenhouse is just to rest, have fun and experiment!
Greenhouses do not have to be expensive or even big. They can be temporary and just used in the spring or bad weather.
My first greenhouse was a combination of old windows I hinged together in the spring to set my transplants out in during the day. I covered the top with plastic. It was very primative, but it worked.
Later that fall I made a cold frame out of old windows and grew greens until Christmas. I live in a cool zone 5 climate so this definately extended my season. The next spring I put together a small hotbed frame by adding rabbit fertilizer under the soil to make heat and lining the frame with milk jugs filled with water. I use clear milk jugs because the sun will warm the water up during the day and give off the heat during the night. It’s enough to add more warmth to the hotbed. I also covered the hotbed with a blanket at night.
I was able to start most of my seedling using this hotbed.
My cheapest and easiest to make greenhouse was created out of an old swingset. I covered the set with heavy plastic and secured it at the bottom. The one end I made a wood cover for. (this was a good place for seedlings and cuttings that needed less light.) The other end I removed the center support bar that made it secure and placed another support bar along the bottom on the ground. This end had two pieces of plastic that overlapped. The inner layer had a board stapled onto the bottom to hold it in place. The outer plastic I used clothes pin to hold it shut.
During the day when temperatures would go up I would take the back flap of plastic and move it back to tie it up. The outer flap I set out about a foot so that the structure could cool down but not get too much wind that would damage small plants.
I used this very cheap temporary greenhouse all season. The cost was about $15 for the plastic cover.
My second bigger greenhouse was made out of PVC pipe. I put metal stakes into the ground and bent PVC pipe from one row of stakes to the other to make a semi circular shape. To make it secure I put wood boards on the bottom and bolted thin metal half way up the side. On the top of the structure I had a thin metal pipe that ran the length of the top. This was wired into place. When It was up and secure I covered it with heavy plastic. This worked very well and I used it for a few years, but it was more work to put up! I probably had $75 in this temporary greenhouse.
I now have a nicer greenhouse, two actually. Using temporary greenhouses gave me a taste of what having a greehouse would be like and saved me money when I really didn’t have the money to spend.
I still throw together plastic temporary greenhouses if I have too many plants, I am digging up and moving plants or we have a cold summer.
Greenhouse can be small or large. They can stand by theirselves or be a lean to style attached to a house or other building. But my all time favorite is a pit greenhouse. I love the look and its versitility.
In the next several days I will post several different greenhouse styles.