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Great Greenhouse Idea (I think)

Cobleskill, NY(Zone 5a)

Maybe i am crazy, but I am so excited! I think I have a great idea for a cheap greenhouse. You know those portable kinds for about 300 dollars? Well last year I bought a family dinner pavilion for 30$ from Wa-Mart. Why can't I build a base out of pressure treated wood, erect my pavillion frame, attatch the pavilion frame to the wood base (for stability)and instead of putting the tarp on, cover it in plastic. I realize that the plastic may not last long but it is soooo cheap. I have a good size cold frame, and as long as you take care in putting the plastic on, there is minimum damage. What do you guys think? I can get 4x100' plastic for 14$. Hey it is a good start and good practice for when I can afford a real greenhouse. I'd love to hear your ideas and comments.

Richmond, KY(Zone 6b)

Sound's workable, Meghan,

Bear in mind, however, that the primary problem with greenhouses is venting heat. Authorities say that 37% of the glazing should be ventible.

So as you experiment, you'll have to find some way to have windows of some sort.

When I built mine last year (from a thousand dollar kit, incidentally) I didn't know that. As a result, the only ventilation comes from the door. When it's in the 70s outside, the inside temps were as high as 130.

I'm amending the design now to add ventilation, including a solar-powered fan.

Good luck with your experiment.

Huron, TN

it could work my husband made me a small green house out of old house windows a few summers a go and i used it for ever till we had a realy bad storm and all my windows were broken out so we took it down but i bet what your talking about will work really well for a temporary green house

Richmond Hill, GA(Zone 8b)

Meghan, Brook is right about ventilation. That is a MUST. Ideally, you should have ridge vents AND base vents for adequate circulation. I took me a year to find one that had both. To keep heat in and to keep your heating costs down in the winter, it would be best to use 2 layers of plastic separated by a 1 inch "dead air" space. I spent more on my greenhouse than I had planned but I'm not sorry. I love it!!! Mine is a 10X16. I bought that size because it has 2 ridge vents and 2 base vents. In my climate I had to have that many. I'm sure that you can come up with a design to include both ridge and base vents. All it takes is someone with a little ingenuity. Here's a pic of my greenhouse:

I bought this model for the reasons above and also because of the low south wall. The winter sun is lower in the sky and this design takes advantage of that. I'm only using using my greenhouse in the winter. Check with your county extension office. Sometimes that have greenhouse plans that you can have for free. Best of luck to you!


Cobleskill, NY(Zone 5a)

Pete, love the greenhouse!
Good points. I am having trouble keeping heat in my coldframe right now. Cooling off is not too hard right now, but I thought it is a little too small to go through the expence of a heater and other equipment. I figured I could put in velcro window cut outs for venting in the pavallion greenhouse and have a zipper or velcro door on each end. I wonder if hot glue would be a good choice for adhesive. I was going to use clear packing tape. I have some more planning to do before I decide to do it. Please be as critical as you like my bf says I have too many pipe dreams and this may be yet another crazy project.

Richmond, KY(Zone 6b)


Clear packing tape is fine for the design you discussed.

I'd be leary of hot glue, because you might melt out the main panels.

I would guess that velcroed cutouts would be a very workable plan. If you can find it, get the velcro with self-stick adhesive.

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