This Cost Effective DIY Cheap Greenhouse post shows you how to build a very cost effective greenhouse that is very sturdy and quick to put together. The greenhouse in this post/video was put together in about a half day at a permaculture design course (PDC) that I was at this past fall.
The actual spend on the Cost Effective DIY Cheap Greenhouse project shown was about $180.00. We did have some donated parts like the plastic film and rope. If we bought everything the cost would have been $230.00.
This Cost Effective DIY Cheap Greenhouse is designed to be portable. It is built on 2×4 sleds and has a rope connected to the front. We actually built the greenhouse shown here in the back yard, about 50 feet away from where it currently sits. We dragged it over to where it is at now. Two of us easily moved it over and it could have been moved by one person.
The base of the Cost Effective DIY Cheap Greenhouse, including the sled previously talked about, is made of 2×4 pressure treated lumber. It is 7-foot-wide and 8-foot long. The reason it is 7-foot-wide and not 8 is so the cattle panel is high enough for you to walk in and out without having to duck too much.
The hoop portion of the Cost Effective DIY Cheap Greenhouse is built with cattle panels. They are pushed up against the base forming an arch. The cattle panels are very strong and will hold up to heavy rains and snows with no issues.
We used fence staples to secure the cattle panels to the base. Try to get the panels level to one another as you are nailing them in. We then tied the cattle panels together in the middle with wire. We tied them in about five or six different spots.
The door of the Cost Effective DIY Cheap Greenhouse is a 2×4 frame with two zinc hinges and a zinc latch. There is also a wire going diagonally from the lower front part of the door to the upper rear part of the door. This is to help support the door so it does not sag over time. Don’t forget to include a string hooked up to the latch going to the inside of the greenhouse so you can open the latch from the inside if the door gets closed behind you. We did this by simply drilling a hole about an inch above the latch and running a string through the hole and connected it to the latch.
There is a window in the back of the Cost Effective DIY Cheap Greenhouse to vent the greenhouse if it gets too hot in there. The window is framed with 2×4 lumber and has zinc hinges. We hinged it at the bottom and used some scrap lumber at the top to prevent the window from coming in the inward direction. Then we used scrap lumber and made a latch at the top inside of the window to hold the window closed. The latch only has one screw in it so we can turn the latch sideways to open the window. We also added a cable to the top of the window to only allow the window to open about a foot. If this wire isn’t there the window just flops down and will eventually rip the hinges out on the bottom.
The film over the top is just regular greenhouse film. You can find it offered all over the place online. Use caution when pulling the film over the top that you down rip the plastic. If it gets ripped, just use clear shipping tape to cover the hole.
Make sure you cover any sharp metal before pulling the film over. We covered the sharp metal with duct tape in the middle of the greenhouse. At the edges we used pipe insulation to cover the sharp edges.
We used staples and attached the film to the frame. We then used lumber to cover the staples. Without the wood covering the staples, wind and weather will cause the plastic to wear out at the staples rather quickly.
There are gaps around the door and window on the Cost Effective DIY Cheap Greenhouse. I would recommend covering those gaps with something. You could use some of the pipe insulation or some kind of soft flat plastic just to cover the larger gaps so you don’t have wind blowing in.
With this basic design of the Cost Effective DIY Cheap Greenhouse you can modify it to do lots of things. I have seen one farm using these for chicken tractors. They totally enclose the structure with 2×4 fencing. They cover the back end and back half of the roof with a tarp and leave the front side open. That way the chickens have sun as well as protection if they want it. It is portable and is moved once a day to give the chickens fresh grass and bugs to munch on.
I use a similar design at my homestead for a deer proof plant propagation bed. I do this by not covering it with plastic, but using 2×4 fencing to cover all of the openings so deer can get in. Then I have a path down the middle and use concrete sand on both sides to propagate cuttings. This system is not designed to be portable, but does a wonderful job of keeping deer out.
I just found a kindle version of these plans on Amazon. Click on the link below to check it out. Only $5.97!
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