Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Low Cost Greenhouse for Green Roof Plants or Urban Core Permaculture

We are now proud owners of a low cost, easy to build greenhouse in our Urban Core backyard.

Low Cost Seed Starting & Green Roof Plant Greenhouse
Greenhouses are so very useful in starting seeds, rooting cuttings, potting up plants and providing warm weather plants a head start on the growing season.
Greenhouse's interior includes areas for potting plants, storing soil media, supplies and plants
Greenhouses though can be terribly expensive when purchased as kits.

Our greenhouse above is eight feet wide and twenty eight feet in length.  Height in the center is ten feet.  This gives us plenty of room to move around, store supplies and start seeds.

Growing areas are also added under some of the shelves and in a growing extension to the right of the front door.  Plans for this growing area include tomatoes and peppers.  Plastic can be added over the hoops if our Florida nighttime temperatures drop too low.

Cost for the entire structure was less than two hundred dollars.  Much of the material used was recycled from other construction projects or salvaged from neighborhood throwaways.
The greenhouse beginning, a frame from recycled fence components
The greenhouse project was begun by hammering used fence posts into the ground and adding horizontal shelf framing, all fastened together with plastic wire ties.
DIY Greenhouse Frame detail
Grey plastic electrical conduit (one could use bamboo) was inserted into the top opening of the fence posts, 'looped' over to the opposite side of the greenhouse and inserted into the post on the far side wall.  The grey electrical conduit costs less than two dollars for a ten foot section and lasts for many years in outdoor service.
Greenhouse frame ready for plastic covering
Finally, four or six mil plastic was added over the hoop rafters, shadecloth added to one end and lattice around the bottom edge.

The entire structure is held together with electrical zip ties.  Our other greenhouses we've built similar to the above have easily survived numerous tropical storms.

Grapes are now planted to several areas around the base of the structure.  Grapes will help cool the greenhouse in the summer and when their leaves drop, allow for solar heat to fill the growing area during winter.

Greenhouses don't have to be expensive to be functional.  Once the coral honeysuckle, grapes and other vines weave their tendrils into the lattice work, pollinators should come in droves.

Hoop architecture with inexpensive conduit has proven itself year in and year out.

DIY greenhouses can add wonderful opportunities to any urban core permaculture efforts!

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