So, you want a greenhouse?
Of course, you do! Who wouldn’t? A greenhouse is an awesome addition to any home gardening repertoire!
Greenhouses pull in the sunlight and trap the heat inside – which your plants, veggies, and herbs, all need to flourish. And that also means you can start planting seeds earlier and keep growing later than all your friends who don’t have greenhouses.
Also, if you make it a fully enclosed space on all sides, you don’t have to worry about birds and other animals chowing down on your produce before you get a chance to enjoy the fruits of your gardening labors.
Build Your Own Greenhouse
To build a greenhouse, you could construct a simple wooden frame in the shape of a tiny house or shed and then install glass walls and a glass roof. You could also cover the structure with corrugated plastic panels.
But, if just reading that last paragraph was too much work and putting together IKEA furniture is about as much “construction” as you are comfortable with, here are a few other super simple DIY greenhouse ideas.
This one is so simple; you’ll probably be asking yourself why you never thought of it before. What is a greenhouse really, but an enclosed area, a box, made of mostly glass or plastic that allows sunlight to enter and retains the heat while protecting the plants from the wind?
We all have at least a few of those large, clear plastic bins in the house filled with stuff (children’s toys, Christmas decorations, VHS tapes that we can’t bring ourselves to throw away…). Well, what are those bins if not an enclosed plastic container that will let the sunlight in and trap the heat while keeping the wind off whatever is inside?
It won’t be a vast walk-in greenhouse, but there are some great use-cases for this option. You can use it as a way to get seedlings started.
There are also versions of this bin greenhouse that use a towel as the cover rather than the included plastic top, as it allows more air circulation and breathability inside the structure.
And because it is super portable, you can even bring them inside at night if the young seeds are sensitive to the night time cold. Then once the plants are ready to be transplanted in the ground, you can flip the bin over top of them as the roots get established in their new home.
I’ve also seen people use plastic bottles cut in half and placed over the top of individual seedlings, creating a greenhouse for one. Poke a few holes in the bottle, and you’ve got yourself a little air circulation as well. I’m not sure how well the much thinner plastic of the bottle works as compared to the thicker and more durable bins, but it’s very cheap and easy to test on one plant and see how it works.
While the plastic bin is an already built “structure,” you can also get yourself a plastic sheet and create your own. Now, when it comes to your DIY greenhouse, the type of plastic sheet you will want to get is polycarbonate plastic. This is super-durable, polyethylene plastic that can last up to 4-6 years – maybe more, if you take good care of it.
So, you have the sheet. Now you need to create an enclosed space with it. And that can be as complicated or as simple as you want it to be. Use a couple of posts and make a tent-like structure, or use a couple of trees to do the same thing. You can even use the side of your house and attach the sheet to it, then pull it tight away from the house and anchor it to the ground, creating a lean-to-type greenhouse.
PVC Piping is also an excellent product for building the basic structure you want. With the help of a little heat, you can bend PVC pipes and make yourself a cool, tunnel-shaped structure that you can easily drape your plastic sheeting over top of. However, if you don’t even want to try bending them, take parallel pipes across from each other. Have a third pipe going across between them using simple 90-degree elbow sockets, creating a rectangular tunnel as opposed to a curved one.
Maybe you already have a garden with some wiring or a fence around it. In that case, half the work is already done, and you will just need to sheet it around and over.
The Best Part?
The best thing about all these options is that the cost is quite minimal.
These are great ways to try the whole greenhouse thing. Then, if you want to go bigger and better, you can take that next step in the future.