My husband is building a greenhouse. Our hydroponic garden is doing so well that he was inspired to increase our growing capacity by making our outdoor garden a year-round venture. We got a book called Solar Gardening from the library, and he used it as a guide for the small greenhouse he’s building over our existing garden. It’s a very simple structure, and although I haven’t added up all the Home Depot receipts yet, I doubt it’s cost more than $200.
Our outdoor garden is about four feet wide and 14 feet long. Our greenhouse is just an A-frame structure made of 2x4s held together with metal brackets, screws, and gorilla glue. Each end has a triangle-shaped wall made from plywood that we found for a few dollars in Home Depot’s cull bin, and lined with foam insulation. The best part of the whole thing is the glass. We paid $100 for four double paned glass doors at our local Habitat for Humanity thrift store. The wooden structure for the greenhouse is nearly finished. Once it’s in place, the doors will simply rest on the beams of the structure, with two doors lying end-to-end on each side of the center “roof” beam (picture a child’s tent made of a sheet hung over a clothesline – the 2x4s are the clothesline and A-frame, and the doors are the sheet). I love buying stuff from Habitat, because the money goes to a worthy cause, while allowing us to get super-cheap building materials. In this case, $100 wouldn’t have gone far if we’d been buying brand new double-paned glass and framing materials. The doors came with built in frames, and even have handles that will allow us to easily swing them down to get at the plants inside the greenhouse.
We started some cold-tolerant plants in our hydroponic sprouting container a few days ago, and we’ll be transplanting them into the outdoor garden once they’re big enough (our hydroponic garden is filled to capacity at the moment, and we’re harvesting from it every day). We’re excited to see if we can keep both gardens producing all winter, and be able to grow a good chunk of our own produce at home. We’ll keep buying inexpensive things like carrots and onions, and things that grow on trees like apples and avocados. But we should be able to grow all of our own greens (and we go through a ton of greens), tomatoes, peppers, peas, herbs, etc. Usually by this time of year I’m feeling a bit sad that the garden season is coming to a close. But this year, we’re just getting started. Bring it on, winter!