Unheated Movable Seed Starting Greenhouse




For people wanting to grow their own foodcrops in temperate countries, using a seed starting greenhouse allows their vegetable friends to take a headstart in the cold months and hereby thus increase their cropping season/harvest amounts.

- to allow the seed-starting greenhouse to be used ultra-efficient. The greenhouse is planned to be used as a movable greenhouse to germinate seeds of different foodcrop-plots (one plot at a time; leaving it on just long enough untill the germs have come to somewhat to size). When the seed has germinated well enough to resist the outside environment, the greenhouse is then quickly moved to another plot. The crops and plots offcourse are best all of different species (or cultivars), so that the greenhouse does not need to germinate all the seeds/sowbeds at once. If still too many plots need to be germinated at a certain time, try using several of of these (low-cost) greenhouses, and/or apply other options (eg taking content with a light decrease in the possible harvesting gains, ...).

-to reduce hassle: the greenhouse is compact and can be taken along

-to decrease costs: given the materials used, it may not cost anything at all (if all parts may be used from the home), or atleast very less (parts may be gathered from stores, scrapyards, ... cheaply).

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Step 1: Materials

Materials needed:
- 1 large, sturdy piece of glass, sized to the box (atleast more or less)
- 1 sturdy wooden box
- 2 large woodscrews
- 4 rubber O-rings (sized to the thickness of the large screws)
- 6 small woodscrews
- 1 small piece of wood; sized to the thickness of the glass. In our set-up, we used a stirring stick for paint herefore; these are usually about right in thickness

- 8 aditional woodscrews and 4 rotatable wheels for reusing box bottoms

Step 2: Box Bottom Removal

Remove the box's bottom; a regular screwdriver will do for softwood but an electrical one may be needed for the hardwood type-boxes (as used in the example). Also, were a bit lazy and have weak fore-arms :-) The box-bottoms may be simply discarded (burnt for heat, composted, ...) or may be used for moving potted plants (sturdy bottoms are then required). How this is done may be seen in step 5.

Step 3: Fitting of Screws and Wood-pieces

Fit one side of the box with the 2 screws (outfitted with the rubber rings). The glass will rest on these rubbers. Only one box-side needs to be outfitted with rubbers as the glass will be slightly tilted to one side; hereby thus too resting on only one side of the box.

Also mount the pieces of wood (cut the single large piece of in 4 smaller pieces so that 2 pieces may hold the glass positioned and 2 may secure the glass). The pieces are to be fitted to the box using the 6 woodscrews. The glass is to be slided in between the 2 first wooden pieces (this provides most protection), the glass-securing pieces are only ment for when the greenhouse is moved. Make sure the last 2 pieces may be turned (the screws must not block the turning !)

Step 4: Mounting of the Glass + Tilting Towards Sun

Place the glass on the bottomless box, making sure the small pieces hold it in place firmly. Tilt the box somewhat to the prevailent sun-side (located in the south for northern temperate countries). In our set-up, we don't cut the sides of the box, but instead create a slope with dirt in the soil to tilt the greenhouse. However, if you truly want to, you may cut the sides so that the box is always tilted, even when placed on a flat underground. Depending on the location where the box is placed (shade or plain sun), type of glass used, types of seed to be grown, watering frequency, soil type, and other factors, more or less tilt may be applied. Generally however, only a little bit of tilt is more then plenty (using a little tilt also decreases the chance of the glass falling off accidentally).

Step 5: Reuse of Box Bottoms

Depending on the box used, the 2 bottoms may be reused for moving potted plants. For this, the optional 4 small rotatable wheels are applied to the bottoms, with the use of the 8 additional woodscrews.

Step 6: Enjoy

- watching the seeds germinate within your greenhouse during the cold months
- the all round amazing benefits of pot moving using wheeled platforms !

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    20 Discussions


    Best Answer 2 months ago

    Definitely! Many greenhouses use plexiglass in place of regular glass. You may want to check and see how much light gets through, though - if it's too opaque not enough light and heat will get through :)


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Please be very careful about the type of wood you use! Never use pressure treated wood to construct anything that you will be growing food in- it leaches toxic chemicals into your food...


    9 years ago on Introduction

     Hopefully this isn't a stupid question, but, what type of glass is that. I would guess the darkness of it pulls in heat? Correct?

    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Well if it was darker it would convert more light energy to heat energy, therefore increasing efficiency. Using the principal of hot always goes to cold, the heat from the cold glass will transfer into the air.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    you could use old style storm windows or wooden window shashs for the glass. They might be a bit heavier, but safer having a covered edge.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    This is exactly what I was looking for! Thank you very much for putting it together.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Wow, this is really awesome. I love this. Very nice work.