From HOMEGROWNer Andrew Odom
After reading about the $50 greenhouse
I quickly decided I needed to make one of my own. The summer season was
winding down and I knew I wasn't over my newly found lettuce addiction.
I need to grow well into the autumn and even winter. Time for a simple
Part of all my homestead construction is an element of recycling and
reusing. In fact, I insist on it. So, I need to assess my materials
quickly and start planning. I had about 195 sq. ft. to work with in my
garden. My budget, as my wife told me, was little more than $40. If I
had bought everything I probably would not have topped $100. Luckily
though I only needed to purchase plastic and some PVC connectors. All
said, I spent about $29.
After looking at two local greenhouses/hoop houses and a few online I
opted to use 20 ft. runs of 1" PVC pipe. They were affordable and - more
importantly - readily available in town at the local hardware. I
figured that if I needed to create joints or add structural support I
could hacksaw the piping and use connectors to rejoin. (You will read
later where I did, in fact, have to do this).
NOTE: Getting the 20 ft. PVC home took little more than patience, a
couple of feet of string and a standard 6 ft. truck bed. I just put the
pipes in the back of the truck, tucked them behind the side mirror of
the passenger side door, tied them at both ends and drove really slowly.
When I got the pipe home I began to layout the basic design. My garden
spot already had 'hitching posts' in the ground so I determined that I
could bore out 1" holes in the wood and insert an end of the PVC to
create the main skeleton of the house.
Once I saw the pipes spanning from post to post I quickly realized that I
was going to need some mid-support. I scrapped together four (4) 1" x
2" wood scraps I had that were each about 8 ft. tall. I cut them to
create a cradle in which the PVC could rest securely in and be supported
by. This step is probably optional and mid-supports could be made out
of more PVC or any other material you may have lying around. Just be
careful not to have too many pointed areas which may rip the plastic or
The 1" x 2"s also had to be put into the ground so I ended up using
post hole diggers to dig about an 18" hole I could buy the sticks in.
This might have been the most labor intensive part of the whole project.
Annie Hall divx
At this point I moved on to making some cross-supports for the hoop
house skeleton. I measured the distance between each "hoop" and decided
12 PVC 'T' connectors would easily do the job. Back to the hardware
where I spent about $0.28 (cents) on each connector.
Once Upon a Time in China and America buy
Back at the garden I cut my remaining PVC to allow for the connectors
and to give final support for the structure before draping the plastic.
When completed I was quite please that the slope of the hoop house was
quite even and would hold the 4 mil. plastic securely and allow complete
drainage in case of major rains.
NOTE: Because I live in middle Georgia snow is not really a concern so I
am not sure if this design would hope up well under lbs. of snow.
And now, for the plastic....
The plastic is the most important part of this whole project. Because of
it we are able to amplify the fall/winter sun and grow our plants in an
ideal temperature throughout the in-climate weather seasons.
The plastic sheeting I chose was plain non-UV stabilized 4 mil clear
plastic. I was able to get a great deal on the plastic by asking the
hardware if they had any scraps or were willing to cut a much larger
roll. They were willing to (perhaps a benefit of a struggling
economy???) and went about cutting a 20 ft' piece from a 100' x 20'
roll. Cost? $17.50.
If you do have the resources I now recommend spending a few extra
dollars and purchasing greenhouse plastic that has a much higher thermal
and light transmittance rating. This will certainly be a consideration
on a future (and larger) greenhouse or hoop house.
I will admit that while draping plastic sounds remarkably easy, it is
anything but. Several times the wind got under the sheet and I nearly
went around the world in 80 days. I quickly enlisted a few extra hands
and began the effort of securing the plastic. Once it was draped I
determined that staples would not only rip the plastic but just wouldn't
hold up. It was time to improvise.
I ended up using scrap plywood and a pneumatic nail gun to sandwich the
plastic, so to speak. It worked beautifully and allowed for greater
tightening/securing of the plastic as well.
Owning Mahowny film
My last real step to this point was to add some cinderblock and gravel
to the bottom of the structure in case of water puddling and/or
This weekend I will be adding the door as right now I am simply slipping
under the side to water and check on the lettuce I already have
planted. Be sure to check back for more of this hoop house DIY!
All project images can be found on this flickr page.Miss Congeniality psp