A Greenhouse

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!

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  1. says

    Wow, what a project.

    I’ve never grown my own veggies so this may sound a bit silly.

    But do they taste different to the ones you buy? Is it better or worse?

    I suppose you also don’t use any pesticides / chemicals?

  2. says

    This is so cool. I live in an apartment, so no outdoor garden for me, but I’ve been trying to grow herbs forever and just can’t keep them alive. Any tips for hydroponic gardening? Do you use a grow light or natural sunlight?

  3. rachel says

    The primary temptation I have to move from apartment to house is to have a garden. I really enjoyed gardening with my mom as a child, but I am not sure my own children will have that experience… Most likely they will have to get it from volunteering.

  4. says

    very cool…can we get a pic? I’m still having a hard time seeing it.

    for any budding gardeners, i suggest the book ‘animal, vegetable, miracle’ by kingsolver if you haven’t read it already!

  5. FrugalBabe says

    @Francois – homegrown veggies taste great, because you harvest them when they’re ripe and eat them as soon as they’re harvested. And no, we don’t use any chemicals. We compost all of our leaves, grass clippings, coffee grounds, and produce scraps, and that’s our fertilizer for our outdoor garden. In the hydroponic garden, we use an organic nutrient solution designed for hydroponics.
    @Karen – we do use a grow light in our hydroponic garden. We have the garden set up in our crawl space, so there’s no natural light at all.
    @Sense – As soon as we get it assembled, I’ll be posting pictures. I had a hard time visualizing it when my husband first described it :)
    Thanks for all the comments – we’re excited about this project, and happy to be taking one more baby step towards self-sufficiency. And between our baby and the various projects we’re working on right now, I just noticed that our TV hasn’t been turned on in at least three days, maybe more.

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