The ($5) Greenhouse Update

For those who don’t follow me on facebook… here’s the updated picture of our new greenhouse! It’s come a long way since the last picture I posted!

As you can see, we’ve added siding to it. Which I totally love.

But not just any ol’ siding. (You know how we do things around here!)

This, my friends, is made from salvaged corrugated plastic sign material.

When Jerry worked at a print shop, he saved some really long scraps of this material that they were going to throw away. They sat in our shed for about nine months before we knew what their purpose was going to be. But seriously, we keep everything. And I’m so glad we do, ’cause when Jerry got the bright idea to cut that plastic into strips and staple them to the frame of this bad boy, I was couldn’t have been more thrilled.

Didn’t he do a fantastic job?! I mean, for working with what we had, I think it looks pretty darn good.

So far we have $5 in this entire project. We had to buy some caulking for the windows on the roof because it was leaking big time. But even after that it still leaked. Fortunately, we happened to have a roll of clear plastic which we stretched out over the roof and stapled to the frame, which has worked very nicely.

It’s a good sized space: 12′ x 16′, with 6′ walls and an 8′ peak in the center. We’re in the process of installing some gutters (which we salvaged for free as well), and running them into rain barrels inside the greenhouse. I am dying to get in there and make it all pretty and functional.

It has been interesting learning how to use this space. It’s really more like a giant cold frame right now than a greenhouse, since it isn’t heated. I have to be sure to open the windows in the morning, and close them in the evenings, otherwise my poor seedlings will be absolutely fried in the heat. Even though it’s still wintertime, the temps have reached well over 120* in there so far!

There are still a few things to do, but I’m excited with how it has all been coming together so far. I’ve decided I’d like to put cold frames along the front of the greenhouse, to block the underneath part off. We have some extra windows leftover that we can use for that. I figure, it’s a free and functional way to finish off the base of the greenhouse, instead of having to buy lattice like I’d originally planned.

Anyways… that’s where we’re at with that! I’ll keep you updated as we make more progress.

UPDATE: Dec. 2014

greenhouse coming along

Here’s what our greenhouse looks like today. I’m afraid it’s become a catch-all in the off season. Forgive the mess. Since it still isn’t heated, it’s really only being used to start garden seedlings in early Spring. We eventually invested about $100 in a new corrugated plastic greenhouse roof to stop the leaks. Truth be told, I’m kinda wishing we’d built it directly on the ground. That way I wouldn’t have to worry about water damaging the floor and I’d be able to plant directly into the ground. Eventually we’d like to re-build this structure at ground level. Such is our life, doing and re-doing until we get it right.

14 thoughts on “The ($5) Greenhouse Update”

  1. I heard your interview on Off the Grid news and had to check out your blog. Thank you for sharing! I have found you to be so inspiring.

  2. What a neat greenhouse. Another suggestion is that you can use shade cloth draped inside your greenhouse to help with extreme heat fluctuations as well as protect your plants from sunscald….Amy

  3. I love it!!! I’ve been wanting a greenhouse, but little overwhelmed on exactly where to start. That is so cool you did for $5! Hard to believe it gets 120 degrees in there! Wow!!

  4. One question? Can I have him? Love my husband to pieces, but unless it has to do with a computer, he is useless. I will even take just the motivation that your guy has…

  5. I have a mostly done greenhouse made from upcycled windows and the original plans called for windows for the roof. But after I read about leaking and realizing water will just sit on the windows and rot, opted for fiberglass panels for the roof. I used fiberglass roof panels, translucent, and sloped it to let the rain run off into a spouting into a barrel to use for watering. I hope your windows on the roof don’t rot unless you have good paint and lots of caulk. I know it isn’t as cheap but in the long run will be a better roof. Yours looks very nice and was great for practically free. Mine is separate from any bulding but is on the south side of my garage with windows on all 4 sides. I plan to put a layer of plastic all around the iside to provide a dead air space for insulation. I cauled around the windows and all air spaces I found. it was free after rebate at menard’s. even though we had to buy some supplies, I know it’s worth it to do it right and hopefully be usable for many, many years. i grow my own plants from seeds and maybe can sell a few extra at the Farmers’ Market in a nearby town. We had a lot of supplies for mine but had to spend some money. I gather all I can when a town has a free trash day and people throw out so many things. I will continue this as next I want a chicken tractor. Great posts, will keep reading. Thanks.

  6. It looks great!

    My grandma has greenhouses on her property. She’s had them since the 1950s. Only one of them is heated in the winter, she keeps her cacti and anything else she wants to over-winter in it. We live in WV, so it get really cold here in Winter.

    She starts her seeds in the other in February, I think it’s the peppers, broccoli and cabbage she has started so far. It’s warm enough during the day that the seedlings get a good start without being too hot. It stays warm enough in there at night that she doesn’t have to heat it for the seedlings.

  7. Looks great!

    You’re going to want some sort of automatic venting system.

    Back in my magician days, I had my white doves and rabbit on the all-windowed front porch, and boy could it get hot, the kind of heat that could kill my birds. (This was Glens Falls, NY.)

    I came across what someone told me is a “stall motor” in a garage sale, but Google says that name’s wrong. Don’t know what is. The thing can open a top hung window when house current is put to it. Combine that with a 120 volt thermostat, a relay & an outlet, and you have something that can open a window some when you need it most and turn on a fan. You could also do a DIY louvered fan up there with the same thermostat rig.


Leave a Comment