Picture of Build a Winter / Summer Grow Table

Building a Winter / Summer grow table is easy. It can be covered with thick plastic sheeting in the winter and shade cloth during the summer months.

All you need is...
1. Plastic Shelving
2. 1/2" PVC Pipe
3. A cutter for the PVC Pipe
4. Zip Ties
5. Shade Cloth or Thick 4 or 6 mil Plastic Sheeting
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Step 1: Assemble the tables

Picture of Assemble the tables
The plastic shelves can be purchased at most hardware stores or even at Wal-Mart. They cost on average $14 depending on size. Instead of stacking the unit as shown, the shelves can easily be used as tables. You will need solid surface to grow your plants. The purpose is to keep out air circulation that will dry out your potted plants. If your shelves have a mesh or grid surface, cover the table top with a black plastic trash bag.

Step 2: Zip Tie the Table Legs Together

Picture of Zip Tie the Table Legs Together
If you are using more than one table, you will need to zip tie the table legs together before setting up with the PVC pipe. When the legs are not tied together, the PVC pipe will push the tables apart.

Step 3: Bend PVC pipe over table

Picture of Bend PVC pipe over table
Insert the PVC pipe into the leg hole on the table and bend over to the other side. Insert into the other leg hole.

Step 4: Cover with shade cloth

Picture of Cover with shade cloth
Cover with Nursery Shade Cloth that provides 30%-40% shade. This cannot be purchased at the hardware store. Shade cloth that is available at the hardware store is only 75% shade, which is too dark for growing plants. I purchase my shade cloth online at: www.shadeclothstore.com.  They have very good prices and will build your shade cloth exactly to your specifications. I always purchase mine knitted, hemmed, and with grommets. The hem helps the shade cloth keep longer and the grommets make it easy to tie down the material. 

Step 5: Here's how it looks!

Picture of Here's how it looks!
Here is how my seedlings look inside the grow table in the heat of summer. Without this filtered light, my seedlings would fry! I also installed a mister that hangs from the PVC pipe above.
What about using burlap?
AmyLuthien3 years ago
Would LED's put off enough heat to use them as a heat source? They seem pretty cool to me :/
LEDs don't generate heat. The resistors and power sources used to drive them might (but it should be negligible).
That's my point, so they would be useless to heat a greenhouse/cold frame . . .
raviolikid3 years ago
Great project! My father is all excited for next year. Congratulations!
raviolikid3 years ago
How great! I always wondered where I could get shade cloth! Thanks!
nbock13 years ago
What sort of 'winter' are we talking about here? Would this work in region 5?
PondPlantGirl (author)  nbock13 years ago
For cold and snow I suggest reinforcing the hoop with chicken wire and 2 layers of visqueen instead of plastic. Insulate with 1" bubble - bubble wrap. Use a plant heating pad. If you want to minimize air space for heating purposes, use a smaller guage pvc to bend over the table for a lower ceiling.
odin7 nbock13 years ago
I live on the northern border of region 5 and this might extend the growing season by a couple weeks and you would be able to start a couple weeks early, but that's about it.
chamunks odin73 years ago
Also seems a little far fetched for a region 5 grower here I would be curious to see what someone might suggest here.
wsecomp3 years ago
This is a form of a "hoop house". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoop_house

With the hail storms we get in the NE panhandle, I don't know how well that would hold up, though.
PondPlantGirl (author)  wsecomp3 years ago
I've heard of those hail storms. I would suggest reinforcing with chicken wire.
jimmiles13 years ago
I live in Southeast Texas and this is perfect for my region. Thanks for the tips.
Hope you post some more ideas.
sbilby3 years ago
I would think that in my area one would need a heat source.