relatively inexpensive greenhouse

Do-it-yourself projects such as greenhouse or shadehouse builds and related topics.
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WayneByerly
Posts: 1240
Joined: Sun Apr 06, 2014 10:35 pm
Location: In the north end of the Sequachee Valley, 65 miles north of Chattanooga Tennessee USA. Zone 7a

relatively inexpensive greenhouse

Post by WayneByerly »

Both windows in the place where I live face SE ... the windows get 4 to 6 hours (depending on the season) of direct sunlight per day. And I placed a half dozen 40W CFL lights (4500 degree color) close to the succulents I had in these windows (about a foot away). But despite it all, I had a couple of cacti suffer from etiolation (sp?).

So this year I decided to put up a small greenhouse.

What I had in mind (simple, simple, simple) required the following:
[list]* Enough 4x4's to create a base 4' x 8',
* 2 pieces of what looks like heavy duty hardware cloth (although I THINK they call it cattle fencing) 4'x16'
* A couple of pieces of 1"x4" to act as crossbraces ... just enough to supply SOME rigidity in the wind ...
* 2 pounds or so of those "U" shaped nails ... I don't know WHAT you call them ... used to attach the cattle fencing to the 4x4's
* A couple of brackets that I used to attach the 4x4's into a rectangle
* And a sheet of 10'x55' (almost twice what I needed) of 4 year 6 mil greenhouse plastic sheeting.
* Two rolls of plastic repair tape that is supposed to "permanently repair plastic sheeting". I got these from the Internet and can let you know where they came from IF you are interested.
* Four 1/2"x1/2" neodymium magnets[/list]

The wood, various hardware and cattle fencing was somewhere in the vicinity of $100 to $125, and the greenhouse plastic with the tape was also about $100.

The growth that some of my cacti experienced this summer was just beyond belief ... I have a couple of Myrtillocactus geometrizans that put on about 6" of growth THIS summer ... they went from 12" to 18" and are nearly twice as big at the top as they are at the bottom. I've got six ... count them ... SIX different succulents in flower ... all at once!

I've included a couple of pictures below to illustrate how easy it is to build a primitive ... and I DO MEAN PRIMITIVE greenhouse ... you should be able to see that i've got about 50-55 plants in there. Cacti, caudiciforms, euphorbias, echeverias, and haworthias (which are the ONLY succulents that did not do well outside ... they got sunburnt and had to come back inside to my windows where they are recovering nicely). The plastic is rather rather permanently attached on three sides (I put a strip of duct tape along the length of the plastic, right at the bottom, to reinforce the plastic and then used an electric stapler to staple the duct-tape-reinforced-plastic to the 4 x 4's at the bottom), and I left one side and the bottom free on one end to use as a door. I use 4 half inch by half inch neodymium magnets taped to the edge of the plastic "door" to hold it shut. The original picture dimensions were 4288x2416 (4 to 6MB apiece) so I resized them to 1024x768 to keep their size down to 400 to 500KB.

Please feel free to ask questions if this interests you at all, and i'll do my best to answer them as and if they come.

This system says the following attachments are no longer available, but you can see for yourself that the images are THERE!

[attachment=5]DSCF6973.JPG[/attachment]

The small pieces of white tape on the sides serve the following function. Additional support ... so the wind wouldn't "inflate" the place, putting strain on the plastic, when the "door" is open. I put a piece of tape on the plastic at junctions of the horizontal/vertical wire of the cattle fencing... Poked two holes in the tape and tied the plastic to the cattle fencing with para-cord ... and then put another piece of tape over the top of the para-cord so it wouldn't come untied.
[attachment=4]DSCF6974.JPG[/attachment]

[attachment=3]DSCF6975.JPG[/attachment]
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Last edited by WayneByerly on Sun Oct 23, 2016 9:17 am, edited 3 times in total.
Make the moral choice & always do what's right. Be a good example. Be part of the solution & make a contribution to society, or be part of the problem & end your life with nothing but regrets. Live a life you can be proud of! Zone 7a
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Tiggy
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Joined: Sat Nov 19, 2011 8:24 pm
Location: Inland from Imperia 800msl Italy

Re: relatively inexpensive greenhouse

Post by Tiggy »

Looks good Wayne, and from what I can make out it seems to be in pretty well protected area. The biggest worry is strong winds, but if it is secure to the ground then should resist (depending of course on how strong a wind you get) Where abouts are you? I also made what was originally a make-shift shelter for some of my plants and it worked really well. I see you have heater in there as well, just watch out for too much humidity. Good luck and I hope it does the job for you. It should.

Susi
Nature Lover
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User avatar
WayneByerly
Posts: 1240
Joined: Sun Apr 06, 2014 10:35 pm
Location: In the north end of the Sequachee Valley, 65 miles north of Chattanooga Tennessee USA. Zone 7a

Re: relatively inexpensive greenhouse

Post by WayneByerly »

Hi Susi ... glad to take note of your interest ... after I built this (sic) "greenhouse", I did a little looking around ... and discovered that I can purchase a manufactured greenhouse approximately the same size for less than it cost me to build it. If you are even contemplating a greenhouse, go look at Amazon first. Maybe you will find something that suits your requirements for not too much money. As bad as I hate sending my money to a communist country, the Chinese CAN manufacture stuff less expensively than we can here in the U.S. ... CHEAPER (read SHABBY) too, unfortunately. BTW ... my eldest sister has the same name ...

[quote="Tiggy"]The biggest worry is strong winds, but if it is secure to the ground then should resist ...

Susi[/quote]
When I originally built this cheap structure, I went to the local hardware store & bought plastic sheet, not knowing anything about "Greenhouse Plastic" ... it deteriorated very quickly. These pictures were taken JUST after I replaced the plastic sheet with Greenhouse plastic, so I haven't got the tie-downs back up yet, but I've used 550 para-cord and tent stakes to secure it against high winds. We occasionally get winds as high as 50 mph here in the Sequatchie Valley, but what I have done keeps it secure.


[quote="Tiggy"]... Where abouts are you? ...

Susi[/quote]
Pikeville TN, about 60 miles north of Chattanooga ... almost equidistant between Chattanooga, Knoxville and Nashville, although Nashville is a bit further ... in the Sequatchie Valley. This area is SO rural, that I cannot see my nearest neighbors house. The Sequatchie Valley, depending on what standard you use is about 65 to 150 miles long and 3-5 miles wide, and about 500-900 ft deep depending on position along its length.

This first image is just to give you an idea of the shape of the Sequatchie Valley ... LONG and THIN! Pikeville is at the extreme northern part of THIS map, and I'm a coupla' miles off of the northern edge of the map.
[attachment=2]SV1.jpg[/attachment]

This is technically the Tennessee River Valley, but is still part of the Sequatchie Valley. Down by Chattanooga.
[attachment=1]SV2.jpg[/attachment]

and This pic is a little closer to the center of the valley ... up closer to where I live. This should give a good visual indication of how narrow the valley is.
[attachment=0]SV3.jpg[/attachment]



[quote="Tiggy"]I see you have heater in there as well, just watch out for too much humidity.

Susi[/quote]
No ... that's just a fan ... and it's there to keep the temp from getting too high and/or to keep the humidity down ... although I have my doubts about how effective it is for keeping the humidity down. The fan will come out and the heater will go in tonight ... it's supposed to go down to about 35 tonite. Understanding that SOME cacti need a winter (as much as they can stand anyway) to flower ... I would like my cacti to have as natural an environment as possible without killing them. You know ... like the three bears ... not too hot, not too cold ... JUST right!


I am inordinately in love with where I live ... Eastern Tennessee is just beautiful ... I wish you ALL had the luck to live here as I do ... of course that would make things a tad crowded, but I wish you that luck nonetheless. I'm 63 years old, have lived in a dozen states ... I have lived in the large cities like Dallas and Philadelphia, and I've lived in little podunk towns ... and I love it here more than anyplace I've ever been.
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Make the moral choice & always do what's right. Be a good example. Be part of the solution & make a contribution to society, or be part of the problem & end your life with nothing but regrets. Live a life you can be proud of! Zone 7a
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