I'm in a quandary. We want a greenhouse. One of the nice ones cost about
$10,000 for the size we want. I can make the metal structure (I'm a welder)
with even curved top pieces instead of PVC, but would consider PVC as it is
much cheaper than steel. I'm having trouble finding clear (or nearly clear)
visqueen with fabric molded in, but will locate some of that. I have a
walking foot upholstery sewing machine, so I can make all the panels,
complete with grommets, snaps, and zippers. I know I can build this for a
whole lot less than $10k.
Anyone have experiences of making their own greenhouses they'd like to
share? Particularly woven poly? Suppliers I've found have like 10,000 sf
How about overhead hanging drip mist watering systems? In-line fertilizer
dispensers? Heaters? Raised boxes for small crops like herbs and such?
Ramble on about what you know. I'm listening.
First, I know nothing about greenhouses.
I do know something about solar and finding (or rather not finding)
clear polyethelene. Only the wrapper it comes in ever really seems to be
I suppose you've tried the greenhouse supply companies in your country.
What I use is corrugated polycarbonate (widely available in the US,
OZ and NZ), I suppose with your lower temperature needs you could use
PVC. Both materials are crystal clear. For framing I use wood that's
been primed and with a good exterior paint on top. You can get screws
with rubber seals to secure the glazing.
The polycarb has a very long life, which may offset your material costs.
I trust/hope I haven't stopped any greenhouse experts from posting....
First time I have posted, I was interested to read this thread as I am
also under the impression that if the greenhouse is still a hobby
rather than commercial it would be hard to be able to build anything as
cheaply as you can buy at the moment, especially in the current economic
climate, there are some really good deals out there. We do a
combination deal (UK only - sorry) where you get the greenhouse
including guttering, and base (www.mrgreenhouse.co.uk). Polycarbonate
is a great material, which you can buy opaque or crystal clear. Also
try to find a twin polycarbonate as it diffuses light preventing
scorching. It also is low maintenance and virtually unbreakable, which
can also be a bonus if you have children or pets.
So think about all the options carefully before going ahead and
building or even purchasing a greenhouse.
Norm Abrams made a really nice greenhouse, covered in two half-hour
shows. The sides/top were made of a clear corregated panels with
special tape allowing the tubes to drain. The panels provide better
insulation than glass or plastic. And it had a window, powered by a
bimetal strip, that opened and closed to temperature changes. Then he
built shelves to hold pots. Sadly, the greenhouse sat unused for
months until they found a gardener who appreciated the structure.
I think the PVC poles with plastic sheeting is about as cheap as you
can get, even if you need to replace it in 5 years. The quanset hut
style is a proven simple design. The $10K is a bit steep for plants,
almost eccentric. Building a cold frame out of old windows is not
exacty a greenhouse, but you can start many plants well before the
last frost. I know a farmer who heated his cold frames using horse
and cow manure.
That's how it was done a century ago (and even now in "less developed"
countries. Somewhere I have some 'Garden Magazine' from 1904-1906 where
this is discussed. If I can find them I will try to scan the article.
We did this with our cold frames 30 years ago. Fresh Manure about 12
inches deep covered with growing soil. Then switched to electric cables
then stopped. Why has no satisfactory answer. I think child rearing and
shift work played a large part.
$10,000 seems more the price of a conservatory than a basic greenhouse
unless you're talking commercial grower's sized. I don't think you can make
a decent and functional greenhouse yourself any cheaper than to buy one
Check this web site... I've been contemplating one of their lean-to style
greenhouses to place at the back wall of my gardening barn (faces south),
because I have electric, water, and heat there... they have other styles but
I think that being attached to a solid structure the lean-to is much less
prone to wind damage... also gives me more area for less money because I
supply one wall. They sell lots of good products not easily found
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