Instructables
Picture of Simple easy Greenhouse
I started this project out of a necessity to start my seeds early. I live in New England where the weather is downright unfriendly for starting seedlings in the ground. I went looking through several hundred websites to find a simple greenhouse that would be inexpensive or easy to make. After hours of fruitless searching, I ended up designing my own. It is 5 foot by 10 foot long, but It can be scaled down or up to fit any size you need.

I broke this down into many steps to make it easier. This is such a simple project that even a couple of kids can do it with little to no adult supervision.

This whole unit costs less than $25.00, but gives you the room of a $500 greenhouse.

The whole assembly to less than 20 minutes from start to end.

This is my first post, but hopefully with success it will entice me to post more.
 
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Step 1: Collecting the Supplies

The very first step you need to do is collect all your supplies. Below is a list of the supplies and the cost that I paid.
Cost (est) Total

A 6 1/2" Schedule 40 PVC Pipe 10' Plain End $1.25 $7.50
B 6 1/2" "T" Connector $0.30 $1.80
C 4 1/2" 90' Elbow $0.25 $1.00
D 0.5 10 Ft. x 25 Ft. Clear 6 Mil Consumer Sheeting $26.20 $13.10
(Enough to make 2 mini greenhouses)

And a cup of coffee or a soda.
(this project will be completed before your coffee can get cold for your soda warm!)


Total cost (minus your drink and taxes) comes to& $23.40

Step 2: Gathering the tools you will need

Picture of Gathering the tools you will need
There are a lot of tools that you will need .

Tape measure (at least 10 feet long)
Marker of some type (a sharpie works wonders)
Razor knife or scissors (to cut the plastic sheet)
A saw capable of cutting PVC (I used my saw-all, but with kids they could use a hacksaw).

If you're trying to do this alone, like I was, I used a couple of clamps and saw horses to work on.
melarocks8 months ago

pretty good instructions but one cord across wasn't enough, I needed four. I was every lucky not to be standing next to it when it popped. If the cord was mentioned earlier, like before putting in the uprights I might have avoided it. Thanks for the good instructions otherwise!

schnitzle4 years ago
A really well documented instructable! I'll definitely be making one of these for late fall lettuces and then for seedlings next spring! It's also a great place to hide any potted plants that didn't make it in the ground before it froze (I tend to over buy :P)
xchef95x4 years ago
i also live in NE and wonder when you start your seeds outside? month? i start mine indoors about feb/march time span...  please let me know and i plan of building one of these soon because it rocks... peace.
skedone5 years ago
anyone tell me what the sheeting is called in UK and where to get it i cant find it anywhere lol
msw100 skedone5 years ago
Can by bought at B&Q , I think its just builders polythene used under concrete flooring I have also saw it in Homebase garden section
bandq general purpose builders sheet it looks a bit brown when wrapped but works fine dont use duct tape to make joins just sew it with cheap white plastic string with wide stitching at least 2 inch overlap and more than one inch between the stiches. It will hold up against all the elements here in the uk . Two sheets will give you a 6-7 foot wide 12 foot long by about 6 1/2 foot high. Use the white pvc pipe for hoops (widest for the bottom thinnest for the bend at the top) that drop into reclaimed ceiling joists or floor joists running the length of the greenhouse. Use roof batons to make the door frame and something a lot lighter for the door. I will try and post a photo of mine for you tomorrow Best Wishes Nigel
thanks mate and i will be building that then , also please do let me know when you post yours
JasonQ skedone5 years ago
Polythene? Visqueen? I seem to recall it being called those things in British articles/books I've read.
SteveGerber5 years ago
You've left out a key detail. What are doing to seal the ends? You will have no frost protection at all if the ends are left open and the overnight temperature inside will be the same as it is outside.
I know what you mean. I had the same concerns, that's why I made my greenhouse with three sections of 56 inches and then used the whole roll of sheeting so that I would have an extra five feet at each end. you can then duck tape one end and leave a door at the other using those grip clamps to close it night. see my above post for more details. hope this was helpful and if you have any suggestions for me, I would welcome them.
abehambino5 years ago
I just built one last night and it works great! I do however have a suggestion that would greatly improve it. if you buy one more to foot pipe, you can lash to all three arches on the top. it will greatly improve the sturdiness for just a couple of bucks and it shouldn't take more than five minutes to make three square lashes. I think it is well worth the effort. also, the thing I like most about this is that you can make it bigger if you want. I made mine with four sections of 56 inches and it works great. costs a little more, but if you need more space it's great. I am experimenting with how to make the top removable for easier working and watering and also with an irrigation system with the top pipe I mentioned. I will post results when I am done. anyone else got any suggestions for these problems? I'd love to hear them!
abehambino5 years ago
never had a greenhouse before so I have a question: does it require any heating, and if so, what could I use for this unit?
LarryPB5 years ago
Hi: Here in Ottawa, 23 April, its still cool (12C°) and it will be - 3C° but the temp will soar to summer on Sat. Unless you provide ventletation your seedlings will fry! I suggest that you mak a seties of approx 8 in. slashes, running perpendicular from the ridge beal. Start the slash abour 4 in. from the ridhe beam. During the day it will allow the 30 to 35 C°air to escape. In the evening as the plastic cools the gaps will close and shrinks. LarryB.
Greendome5 years ago
Great job!
p3095 years ago
We've done this before, but differently. Drive rebar stakes into the ground, and slide your PVC over the stakes. So, your hoop goes from stake to stake. No need for a ground framework. The tension of the bend and the friction between the rebar and the pipe holds the PVC onto the rebar pretty well.
That is a great idea! By my figuring it would be about 4 1/2' tall, is that about right? Would this project be Scalable? Could you use 6 10' pieces with couplings to raise the height? (And probably a little extra on the sides for support) Any way to seal it up tight and still have a door that you can think of? I live in AZ and would be looking for a way to maintain humidity in the Greenhouse.
Excellent idea, and amazing to think of just how scalable this idea would be in action. It wouldn't be difficult at all to make a larger walk in unit. I would think taping the plastic to the pipes inside would add to the stability/tenacity. If only I didn't live in a 3rd story apartment....
Don't you need some stakes to hold it in the ground during windy weather? Would it help to fill the base pipes with sand?
COVER65 years ago
Nice job.
megmaine5 years ago
What about PEX (crossed polyethylene) Pipe? It's cheap, widely available, and will do anything PVC will do for this purpose except that PEX doesn't break down in UV the way PVC does. And best of all, PEX is much, much friendlier to the environment despite also being a plastic. come to think of it, nearly ANYTHING is friendlier to the environment compared to PVC... wonder when the US will follow certain European countries in banning PVC altogether. Until then, we the people can choose PEX, which is even at Home Depot.
COVER6 megmaine5 years ago
PEX pipe does not have the structural characteristics of PVC. Also PEX connectors are more expensive (brass) and require a special crimping tool. You can use it if you want but you will end up with a pile of plastic (tarp and pipe in the end).
Great job! We made 4 of them it was very easy and fun for the kids to help make them. The use of pvc we can use them year after year. Thanks.
lemonie5 years ago
Nice work! In the context of the Earthjustice United States of Efficiency Contest, had you looked at materials other than (new )PVC pipe? L
lennyb lemonie5 years ago
i agree with lemonie . this is a very good instructible and quite timely too. there seems to be no reason why you coundnt use bamboo garden stakes or small trees{pest species would be better}as your posts. i expect to make one like this but ill use some of those alder bushes that get trimmed down along the woodroads here every year.