Introduction: Miniature, Cuttings-starting, White Plastic Greenhouse
Every once and a while, you may want to propagate plants you've taken from your own plants or grow new plants (eg from cuttings taken in the wild countryside -or- your neighbours backyard ;-).
In both cases, the use of a confined space (like a greenhouse) is mostly necessairy to obtain good results with most of the more fragile (usually non-indiginous) plants. This, to keep the air most enough for the cuttings to catch on and the rooting process to commence. See [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cutting_(plant) Wikipedia's Plant cutting page] for more information.
PS: when taking plant cuttings, make sure you have permission !
-to build a durable greenhouse which has been proven to work in the field of plant propagation. The greenhouse uses a white plastic against overexposure by sunlight (trough possible overheating and/or dehydration). Similar-type greenhouses have been build by (semi-)professionals and this for the same purpose as used here (letting plant cuttings take root). As such, we can rest assured of the design and its ability to work properly.
-to decrease costs: it may not cost anything at all to build this greenhouse (if all parts can be obtained from the home), or atleast very less (when stuff still needs to be bought) This, given the materials used. The white plastic may be obtained from an agricultural company at a fair price and electrical (PVC) or flexible metal piping may probably be obtained at low cost aswell (usually even freely; try searching scrapyards, civic amenity sites, and/or try the freecyle network). The average brick or stone may be found laying around too.
-to reduce hassle: the greenhouse is compact/small and requires but a few and easily obtainable parts
Step 1: Materials
- 1 large, piece of milk-white (still luminous) plastic, sized to the length of the flexible pipes + 30 centimeter extra per side (to secure the plastic to the soil with bricks). Make sure you dimension your plastic to your own requirements. This is offcourse also dependant on the seed trays you use; (you may eg have 192 plant-spaces per meter if you can only put in one row). For our purpose, a 110 cm wide and 330 cm long greenhouse was made; but if you need a bigger one, refer to the drawings and go ahead.
- 5 PVC (or metal) pipes per 115 cm of plastic; for each extra 60 cm of greenhouse 1 additional pipe will be needed. Note that a 195 cm pipe will create a 50 cm high greenhouse with a width of 110cm (which is by btw locked into the soil 15 cm deep). Note that pipes will be set below and above the plastic to keep it in place. They will be held by a set of 2 pipes every 2 sections (or 120 cm; see next step) . This set of 2 pipes will be spaced above and below the plastic to keep it tight/dentless. Every section in between the sections with 2 pipes, a mere single pipe will be placed for the plastic to solely rest on. Look at the drawing below for reference.
- 1 brick per 80 centimeter of plastic
Step 2: Placement of the Pipes and Securing of Plastic
To commence, we'll put down the piping, securing the plastic between every section with 2 pipes (each first 60 cm) and over every section with a single pipe (every second 60 cm). Make sure you begin and end the greenhouse with 2 closely spaced together pipes. As mentioned already, the plastic would be squeezed trough with the sections with the 2 pipes, but would only rest on the sections with the single pipe.
Start the greenhouse by putting up a set of 2 closely spaced together pipes. You will need to start and end your greenhouse with these. To build our greenhouse comfortly, we make sure that we already lock the plastic in place firmly with these first 2 pipes. This will allow us to get the plastic tightly spun early and get the sides folded well (primarily at the long sides of the greenhouse). Note that all sides of the greenhouse need to be closed with the plastic sail so that the humidity of the air within can be leveled up.
Step 3: Securing of the Plastic With Bricks + Greenhouse Operation
Now, we'll firmly secure the plastic with the stones. We will first fold the plastic on all sides and then lay bricks on top of them. A single fold for each long side of the greenhouse will suffice, but the short sides of the greenhouse will need more rigorous folding. Make sure all sides are well sealed when you get the greenhouse operational (by eg applying water and increasing humidity for letting the plant cuttings take root) To seal everything up well, we may place a single brick every 80cm of plastic and do so for all the sides of the greenhouse.
After having the greenhouse well sealed up on most sides, we keep a single side open and place in the seed trays trough this side. Alternatively, if we intent to sow (which I would not recommend; preferably use another technique for this purpose), keep more sides open. Finally, lock it all up.
Step 4: Keep Airating Well and Enjoy
Finally, we can be proud of our work and start duplicating our vegetable friends.
Keep in mind that we must airate once and a while to forkeep the formation of molds !
In order to facilitate this, the bricks may be used to hold the plastic up.
Happy croppin' !
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