Build a Winter / Summer Grow Table




About: Hello. I am the host of the pod cast, The Pond Plant Girl I am here, because I have tons of ideas about how to better grow your garden with simple inexpensive tools, such as my latest - a 5 x 10 ...

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

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

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

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

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:  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!

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.

Step 6: Use Plastic for Winter

In the wintertime, lay down a plant heating mat and hang C-7 or C-9 Christmas tree lights for warmth. Cover the PVC and tables with 4 mil - 6 mil thick plastic sheeting. However, when the plastic is thicker, it allows in less light. Notice how you cannot see through this plastic. Plastic sheeting can be purchased a most hardware stores.

Step 7: Try Visqueen Instead!

For cold climates, use 2 layers of clear plastic visqueen. This can be purchased online at Large bubble wrap is also recommended for greenhouse insulation. This is a picture of my friend, Brian, in Tahoe. His greenhouse is transparent and is made with visqueen. He also used LED Christmas tree lights instead of the large variety.

For more planting tips, please visit my websites!

Garden Blessings, GAiL  

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    14 Discussions


    8 years ago on Step 7

    Would LED's put off enough heat to use them as a heat source? They seem pretty cool to me :/

    2 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    LEDs don't generate heat. The resistors and power sources used to drive them might (but it should be negligible).


    8 years ago on Step 7

    Great project! My father is all excited for next year. Congratulations!


    8 years ago on Step 4

    How great! I always wondered where I could get shade cloth! Thanks!


    8 years ago on Step 7

    What sort of 'winter' are we talking about here? Would this work in region 5?

    3 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Also seems a little far fetched for a region 5 grower here I would be curious to see what someone might suggest here.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    This is a form of a "hoop house".

    With the hail storms we get in the NE panhandle, I don't know how well that would hold up, though.

    1 reply

    8 years ago on Introduction

    I live in Southeast Texas and this is perfect for my region. Thanks for the tips.
    Hope you post some more ideas.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I would think that in my area one would need a heat source.