Our annual end-of-summer contest is here, come on down to the Dave's Garden County Fair!

Best greenhouse for the money

Salt Lake City, UT(Zone 6a)

I've owned commercial-built greenhouses, and I have built and owned some from scratch. I believe the one I have now is about the best you can get for the money - for several reasons.

1) It is very strong, and will withstant virtually any amount of snow or wind.

2) It is less costly than the commercial models.

3) While not "portable" it can be disassembled and moved.

4) The Layout was planned by a man who is really expert in time management and volume production.

5) Built-in continuous ventilators running the length of the roof and along the walls make electric fans unnecessary.

6) If 8 or 10 mil dual or triple-wall polycarbonate is used, it is very efficient to heat.

The plans are 18 pages in PDF, viewable in Adobe Acrobat. I am happy to post them to this website, if someone can tell me how.

Meanwhile, I've included a picture along with this post.

Good building!

Jim Kennard

Thumbnail by JimKennard
Baker City, OR(Zone 5b)

Tell us more about the continuous ventalators.

Salt Lake City, UT(Zone 6a)

Dr. Jacob Mittleider, who taught me, has built these all over - in 27 countries - and he discovered that many folks don't have or can't afford electricity. He also knew from his 20 years as a nurseryman that good air movement was essential and heat rises, so he designed the greenhouse with 1/2 of the roof taller than the other, and an 18" gap between.

By putting the greenhouse plastic - or polycarbonate - depending on what you're covering it with there,attached at the top and on hinges (polycarb), it can be raised varying amounts to adjust the amount of air, and will very quickly cool a greenhouse that is getting too warm.

In very warm weather the same concept is applied to one or both side walls, to give almost total ventilation, and no heat build-up in the summer.


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Piedmont, MO(Zone 6a)

Jim, this looks like a good plan. I would love to see the entire Adobe document. To steer us to it, you need to open that page on your computer, highlight the web address in the address bar, click on Edit, then copy. Then open this thread and hit Edit, then paste. It will show up as a Hyperlink and should take readers to the website when they click on it. Give it a try! Thanks!

Newnan, GA(Zone 8a)

Jim, if you don't have personal webspace, I might have enough on mine to post it and give you the link to share.

The Dalles, OR(Zone 8b)

I would love the plans for this greenhouse. Is the file small enough to email? Could you give it a try? My email address is lehman@gorge.net
Thank you,

Cassopolis, MI(Zone 5a)

I would really like the plans for this greenhouse also. My son in law and I have been discussing building one. This one looks great.
If you can email to me that would be great, it you are not familiar with how to do attachements let me know and I will give you a crash course, its really easy.
thanks so much

Edgewater, MD(Zone 7a)

Me too, are ya gonna post them. I cant have a big one but even a teeny one would make me happy as a clam. Im assuming I can make a few changes with help from DH to make a size we could both be happy with.

Tellico Plains, TN(Zone 7b)

I sure hope he is working on the plans for us, tiG have you heard from Jim about your offer?


Salt Lake City, UT(Zone 6a)

I have sent the file with the greenhouse plans to 4 or 5 people, but I may have missed a couple of you who wanted to see them.

Please - anyone who wants the file - send your email address and I will send them along.

You can also find them here on the DavesGarden site somewhere. I sent them to Dave and he said he would post them where everyone can get at them, but Idon't know where that might be.

If anyone finds them, I would appreciate your letting me know.


Jim Kennard

Cassopolis, MI(Zone 5a)

thanks again so much for sending the file.
I really appreciate it.

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

Jim, and others, in the upper right hand corner, under the logo, click on EXTRAS. Once there you will see where you can click on and download the plans.

Thanks for sharing with the group, Jim!

This message was edited Dec 12, 2003 1:51 PM

Salt Lake City, UT(Zone 6a)

You're welcome - all. Please just respect the copyright laws and don't distribute them. They are a part of the book The Mittleider Gardening Course.

The first half of the book, called The Mittleider Basics Course is available free in the Gardening Techniques section of the Foundation website for anyone who cares to check it out.

The greenhouse plans are in the "advanced" second half of the book as Apendix D.

Jim Kennard

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Jim, I believe we'd all respect copyright laws, including your greenhouse plans.

Some people here have had their plant photos "stolen" and used without heir permission elsewhere on the internet, so it'a a big issue with us.

The Dalles, OR(Zone 8b)

Hi Jim,

I got the plans that you emailed to me and just wanted to say THANK YOU!!! I am only going to use the plans for my own yard... finally an easy plan for a sturdy greenhouse that my husband is even excited about!

We probably won't build it until Spring but I will try to post pictures when we do.


Salt Lake City, UT(Zone 6a)

I'm happy for you. Depending on where you live you will want to consider the relative benefits of using 6 mil UV greenhouse plastic, or dual or triple wall polycarbonate.

The polycarb will give you much better insulation against extreme cold, but it is much more costly to purchase.

Jim Kennard

Frederick, MD(Zone 7a)

Hi Jim,
Is there any chance of getting a picture of your wonderful greenhouse from an outside point of view. I'd love to see the entire greenhouse from a distance..if you get the chance. Thanks!

Piedmont, MO(Zone 6a)

Jim, I too received the file and want to thank you. I am particularly interested in the roof vents. We are planning an addition to my current greenhouse and think this feature can be incorporated. Also we will completely insulate the north wall and the raised section of roof, because we have absolutely no direct light from that side. If painted white inside, it should reflect the light pretty well. I have a Northern Lights GH now that is insulated on the north and am very happy with it. Would buy another one, but the price has doubled since I got mine!

Newnan, GA(Zone 8a)

I want to say thanks too!!

Salt Lake City, UT(Zone 6a)

I am really embarrassed at how bad it looks this year. My only excuse is that I've been occupied in caring for my sweetheart of 42 years, who has been through 10 months of extremely difficult cancer treatment this year. Please forgive the appearance - inside and out.

Jim Kennard

Thumbnail by JimKennard
Newnan, GA(Zone 8a)

Jim, you are a gentleman and your greenhouse looks lovely. I hope she is doing well.

Salt Lake City, UT(Zone 6a)

Thank you. The Oncologist says she is cancer-free. Now all she needs to do is overcome the effects of chemo, mastectomy, and radiation.


Piedmont, MO(Zone 6a)

I sympathize with you Jim. My Mom just went through the same thing. Good luck and thanks again for taking the time to share this greenhouse with us.

Baker City, OR(Zone 5b)

Thanks for posting the picture of the greenhouse even though you are embarassed about it's appearance. It looks good to me. To everything there is a season, I hope your wife's health will improve quickly.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Jim, going through chemo and surgery is just about as hard on the husband as the wife. You have my prayers for speedily getting past this.

As to your GH looking shabby... I'd take ANY GH, shabby or not!

Tonasket, WA(Zone 5a)

Jim, Your GH looks fine, just a little empty and i know you will fill it up soon. Hope all is well with you and your wife now. Happy Holidays. Donna

Salt Lake City, UT(Zone 6a)

Thanks for the kind expressions from several of you. Eleanor is getting better. Her hair is re-growing, and her strength is returning. She can walk about 1 1/2 miles each day. lymph-edema in her left arm is a problem that we hope will improve with time.

Jim Kennard

Piedmont, MO(Zone 6a)

This is a little off the subject, but if Eleonore is on tamoxifen, you can get it much cheaper from Canada than here in the US. I have been getting it for my Mom from Minit Drugs https://www.pharmacy-online.ca/brand/index.jsp
...hope they don't send ole Ashcroft out to arrest me!

Salt Lake City, UT(Zone 6a)

Thanks for that tip.


Tabor, SD(Zone 4b)

Way to go, Eleanor!!!

Ottawa, KS(Zone 5b)


I just now requested the greenhouse plans PDF in a separate email. Is the wood in the framework of the greenhouse treated wood? A lot of greenhouses use an aluminum frame with the idea that it won't rot or rust.

With respect to the wood issue, I discovered recently that the pressure treated wood here in our local Augusta, Maine Home Depot is treated with a copper arsenic compound and each piece of the wood has a red warning tag stapled to the end grain. The tags warns of the poisonous nature of the arsenic and warns against skin contact and warns that the arsenic can leach out into surrounding soil (in the case of the landscape timbers).

I also heard that it will be illegal to sell the arsenic treated wood in the United States after the end of this year and that the new treated wood will use something "presumably" safer.

I put "presumably" in quotes because back in the 70's when I had a big Fort Worth garden, I used railroad ties as an edging for the garden. They were used and well-weathered, but they had been pressure treated with creosote (which seemed to go all the way through the ties) and the creosote was later said to be carcinogenic.

I am surprised I am still alive. As a kid it was my job to paint the interior of the chicken house with creosote to control poultry mites. I even took some cough syrup (Creomulsion I believe it was called) and cough drops that had creosote as an ingredient, and later used a bath soap and antidandruff shampoo that contained creosote.

During the 70's and, I think, the 80's, the lumberyards were selling pressure treated lumber that contained pentachlorophenol or some such thing. Later "penta" was found to be carcinogenic and taken off the market.

As kids on the farm, we sprayed our irish potato plants with arsenate of lead to control potato bugs and larvae. What a double whammy! Arsenic and lead. And both are cumulative poisons. The times they are a'changin'. Hopefully for the better.

But so far, no safe pressure treatment for wood has been found. That is why I am a little skeptical that the new 2004 treated wood will be safe. Hopefully they have finally "got it right." Anyhow, that is why I do have some concerns with the wooden frame for the greenhouse.

-- Burton --

Tellico Plains, TN(Zone 7b)

Easy there Burton....lol
Many of our folks here use cedar or whatever hardwood available to them.

BTW..Welcome to DG , I hope you enjoy being part of our group of 'Plant Nutz'.
Happy Holidays

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Willacoochee, GA(Zone 8b)

here in the deep south, Cypress is cheap, available and suitable for most building projects requiring weather resistant/rot proof wood.

As far as where it touches the ground, that is easily solved.
dig a three-four foot deep hole for the post, pour 4inches of gravel, and than pour a concrete pad in the hole for the post. set the post on the hardened concrete and pour concrete around the post... thus no dirt really sits against the wood.
a little creativity goes a long way.

Burton, your stories remind me of my fathers tales of how they'd spray ddt on themselves to repel mosquitos... I'm sure it worked pretty well tho despite the obvious health issues.


Salt Lake City, UT(Zone 6a)

I pour a small cement footing, put a metal stirrup in it, then place the 4 X 4 wood in that stirrup. Therefore the wood never touches the ground. Also, we recommend you paint the wood white - which reflects more light, and helps preserve it as well.


Las Vegas, NV(Zone 8a)


This is a greenhouse I finished building last spring. I got some awnings from a building teardown. When my husband and I saw the awnings lying by the dumpster I asked him, "what do those look like to you?", he said they looked "like a bunch of tents." (He doesn't garden, , , doesn't go camping either come to think of it). I tho't they looked like a greenhouse roof,,, and I was right. As soon as the green canvas was removed and the frame was painted white and covered with plastic, and many other steps were completed, it became a 12 X 20 greenhouse.

I wish your wife a speedy recovery, and my best wishes to both of you for a wonderful 2004.


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Everson, WA(Zone 8a)

Very nice lesli is the covering polycarbonate I can't tell from the pict. But where is the entrance for the cat. Two cats and 11 quail the cats really don't bother any thing and the quail are caged. Nice nice job. Ernie

Piedmont, MO(Zone 6a)

This is gorgeous, Leslie. Congratulations on a job well done!

Cicero, NY(Zone 5a)

I love that one,and I am curious about the polycarb.
I have been thinking of replacing my platic with it,section by section,just not sure how to peice it together.I'd start with the roof one year ,a side the next.......

Tellico Plains, TN(Zone 7b)

.....Polycarb panels are connected by strips of channeling sold for that purpose.

...... Your GH is so pretty to look at, you will really enjoy the time you can spend in it.

Baker City, OR(Zone 5b)

Polycarb comes in 2 ft wide rigid pieces, so maybe you could build the new one inside the old one and take down the flexable plastic once the new stuff was in place.

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