Cheap-O Greenhouse

by admin on March 3, 2009

I built a greenhouse this morning….From scratch….In about ten minutes.

Ok, ok. So it’s not what you would call “Big” or “Permanent” or even “Sturdy”.

It is however, made completely from free/used/reusable materials, and a good little experiment.

If you live the the daylight-starved great white North like I do, any solar building in the winter is a good one.

I got the idea about this after visiting the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute a few weeks back.

They had a BEAUTIFUL greenhouse there made from patio doors, greenhouse glazing, sheet metal, and insulation. The beams were natural round wood poles. It looked like all materials in the building were recycled.

Now here’s the thing. It was an A-frame. The easiest building in the world, because the walls and the roof are the same thing. Imagine the capital letter A. That’s what it looks like.

The south wall was all glass and the north wall was all insulation – simple.

For a while, I have thought it would be great to have a greenhouse on my property, but they get complicated and expensive fast.

I already had a couple of sheets of salvaged 4-foot by 9-foot polycarbonate greenhouse glazing. I also have a few sheets of 1/2 and 3/4 EPS (pink foam insulation.

All I did was lean two pieces of the glazing together, with the insulation against the north sheet. I held the two corners together with spring clamps, and then threw a packing blanket over either end. It actually took me longer to write this message than to build it!

No, this is not a permanent greenhouse, and no there is nothing growing in it. In fact, it will be lucky if it doesn’t just blow over.

I put a thermometer in there when I built it (30 degrees F.) It’s partly cloudy today. I’m going to let the greenhouse sit for a while, and then I will crawl in it this afternoon to see what the temperature is.

This is just a simple proof-of-concept shelter. Obviously, it would have to be built more solid, larger, and have permanent materials to be an actually useful building.

For me though, it’s often easier to actually DO something than just dream or sketch on paper.


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