Instructables

Double Decker Greenhouse Garden

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Great garden in a small space for a short season.

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. 
 
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Step 1: Prepare the Plot

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My awesome Mother help me dig down 8 to 10" with a pick and shovel and then removed half of loosened hard sand and clay.  Next, we mixed in some really excellent dirt from a worm farmer which was one-third worm castings, one-third manure and one-third top soil.  I paid $40 for 1.5 yards; this project took 1 yard.  The worm farmer said more than one-third worm castings will produce great foliage but no flowers.  This is a picture of my Mother and the Earth Angels blessing my new garden spot.  

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

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Simply haul in the swing set dump find and set it in place over the garden plot.  Remove any swing set hardware that crests the top bar and may tear the green house plastic.  I removed the swing set glider hardware shown with vise grips rather than take time to find the right allen wrench.  You will want to leave the swing hooks on the top bar for suspending potted plants or climbing wires.

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.  
nmdispatchlady11 months ago
Love this idea have an old swingset in the backyard was going to repurpose for the grandkids. Perhaps we will make them a garden instead. They all like to garden with nana..
shaynee2321 year ago
Hi, great idea. Heres a few ideas from your idea; How about using a trellis idea going from the ground to the one swing set, where the planter boxes are,- say for morning glories . Like a cascading planter of lobella or petunia from the top planters .
Or if using two swing sets why don't use the trellis idea aross ways having from one swing set idea to the other swing set. Having thin sticks going up through the holes through the trellis to the top of the swing set. Making it look like a odd looking tipi for beans or other climbing vegetables. Even cucumbers. Or even having a cascading wave of morning glories, ivy or other colored flowers . So it climbs both sides of the swing set. .
Here's another idea from your idea. From the end pieces of the swing set.-add two bars or pipes hanging from the ends extending the swing set another 1ft to 1 1/2 ft for adding hanging pots of say hanging tomatoes, strawberries or such from the ends or throughout the whole top of the swing set main bar.
Have you tried putting holes through the sides and the bottom of the bar using a staggered pattern (about an inch apart so it doesn't make it unstable . Then threading through the top bar of the swing set a soaker hose , the hose that has a bunch of holes in the sides of the hose. This way the plants are watered when needed. They go through the hose, and through the holes you drilled through the swing set bar watering all the plants you have planted. Or if you don't want to thread it through the bar, why don't try it clamped on top of the bar using those plastic ties every 3-4 inches so stays ontop of the swing set bar, watering your plants that way.
From your tap turn turn on nozzle add one of those pieces you can buy that has three forks coming off the main spout or hose. From there you can add three extra hoses to it , extending your watering system to other areas you would like to water . As long as your water pressure has good pressure. Or using a regular hose for the 1st part of the hose. For the 2nd part adding one of those small pieces I've seen advertised on tv that makes any hose fit anywhere. From there adding your hose piece that looks like a fork piece with 3 spouts off it. Finally from here you add your soaker hoses extending your hose in different directions to where ever you would like to water your plants. This way you don't have to keep dragging your hose system out everytime you want to water your plants or you can turn it on with a timer set on the hoses. Also if needed to take the main hose off your tap, to use another another hose hose system set up in another system somewhere else, or just 1 hose-say a regular hose system to wash your car,etc.
Keep up your ideas.
2 stroke 3 years ago
ill weld a middle leg in on the support that is supporting the weight just use some galvenized pipe and weld it to the support that is holding everthing
Cool idea. Kudos to you for putting it all together. What plants were most successful with this? I'd like to see a picture showing full grown plants. It seems like the gutters are too shallow for most plants.
ideatrunk (author)  1-2BGardening3 years ago
You are right, the gutters are too shallow for plants. Spring mix lettuce and spinach grew but were half the normal size in the gutters. Bonsai spinach.
ideatrunk (author)  1-2BGardening3 years ago
Shallow root vegetables, mainly lettuce and spinach in the gutters. Nice height for easy picking. The gutters are tending to dry out in hot weather, so AmyLuthien's comment below regarding gutter hydroponics is a good one. The recycled salad trays worked great for really health squash plant starts but will run into the same drying out problem come July. Possible solutions could include a soaker hose on a timer, or switching to hanging planters.
I'd plant pole beans or morning glories on the poles. I see you are in zone 4. I'm in zone 14 according to Sunset magazine. I have a hard time growing things in large hanging baskets because they get too hot even if they don't dry out.
ideatrunk (author)  1-2BGardening3 years ago
Thanks for sharing your ideas. The swing set would make a nice trellis for climbing plants!
georion3 years ago
Thanks --Im going to use your idea and expand it by screwing boards lenghtwise to the swing legs and placing 3 or 4 platforms depthwise--really dont believe i didnt think of it untill i saw your Instructable --Thanks again !!!!!!!!!! Wow!!!
bruc33ef3 years ago
Great use for an old swing set!

ideatrunk (author)  bruc33ef3 years ago
Thanks. The wind is tending to suck the plastic sides inward, guy wires from the top bar to a stake in the ground would help. Or, make the greenhouse bigger with two swing sets side by side.
AmyLuthien3 years ago
Now that's thinking with your noodle!  Great idea!  You could even go 'fancy' with something like this and make it into a hydroponics set up, put the gutters at slight angles so the top one drained into the one below it , , , 

Now I've got to go find an old swing set!  Thanks!
ideatrunk (author)  AmyLuthien3 years ago
The gutters would be ideal for hydroponics. Good idea!
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