Recycle an old swing set into a green house. Put a shelf across the middle of the swing set to add garden space, or simply hang upside down pots or planters from the existing swing set hooks. Add a climbing wire for beans. Then, set up your watering system, plant, cover with plastic and watch your garden grow. This double decker greenhouse is sure to add a couple of weeks growing time on each end of the growing season. That's a precious month for a zone 4 gardner.
Step 1: Prepare the Plot
The swing set I salvaged from a metal pile at the dump had a foot print of 5.5' x 10.5', plus we added an extra 4' of garden to one end, since I had the space.
Step 2: Greenhouse Frame in a Flash
Next, decide whether to hanging potted plants or add a shelf. Since I was lacking upsidedown pots or hanging pots, I went with the shelf.
Step 3: Shelf Space
Step 4: Gutter Fill
Step 5: The Bean Trellis
Step 6: Watering System
For now, I salvaged a piece of drip line for the ground. The black pipe drip line has drip ports every foot and a half. For watering the shelf layer, I added a pipe 'T' between the garden hose and the drip line. The pipe 'T' is connected to a valve and a length of salvaged washing machine hose. The washing machine hose is connected to an adjustable sprayer which is shown removably wedged between the two gutters. Since the sprayer is adjustable, I didn't really need the valve. The washing machine hose has two female ends so I needed a 3/4" male-male pipe connection. At the spigot, I added a timer but this timer requires daily setting and is more for preventing forgetting to shut the water off.
As you'll notice there is standing water in the gutter, this is from a failed attempt to suspend an old shower head from the top bar. The flow was not quite right for the application and the hose connections were a bit of a pain, but old shower heads may have a purpose in gardening.
Step 7: Plant & Cover
To determine the plastic size, first measure the swing set height (6'), the length of the top bar (9.5'), and one diagonal leg (6.5') from the top to the ground. The short direction is 2 times the diagonal leg plus two feet (2x6.5+2=15'). The long direction is 2 times the height plus the length of the top bar, plus two feet (2x6+9.5+2=23.5'). The two extra feet allows one foot all the way around to anchor the plastic to the ground.
I folded one end in like wrapping a present and the other end I extended over the extra garden space. I used a few heavy rocks for anchors. Stakes may be better in windy locations. Guy wires from the top bar down to the ground underneath the plastic may be useful for preventing the plastic from drawing inward on the sides. So far, my rocks are working fine for this too. We had some 35 mph winds at the green house is still standing.
In an alternate attempt I tried to wrap the swing set frame from the bottom up with clear plastic pallet wrap, but it tore as I started and I gave up early. Clear plastic pallet wrap probably has a gardening use, but for this project the free plastic was too easy to refuse.
That's it, easy peasy! Free from salvaged goodies with the exception of the dirt and I'd rather buy good dirt than gold anyday. *** Happy Gardening! ***