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Humble PVC greenhouse  RSS feed

 
Jeremey Weeks
Posts: 206
Location: Eastern Washington, 8 acres, h. zone 5b
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I put together a small greenhouse last weekend. Its purpose is to protect my aquaponics setup from snow and freezing. I'm sure the interior temperature will drop below 32 degrees this winter but I'm hoping it will be warmer than outside temps.

I spent about $250. I'm sure it could be done more cheaply.

Here's a link to a blog post about it with a link to the plan as well as pics...

cheap greenhouse
 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
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Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
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This looks great - I hope you will post some progress through the seasons photos and info.
 
John Elliott
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I'm a couple years ahead of you, Jeremy. My first try at a greenhouse was very much like yours, so I will list my problems along with the solutions I came up with:

(1) Wind is a big enemy. It's going to shake that frame and rip at that 4 mil plastic. You need some netting on top of the plastic to hold it down and keep the wind from yanking off big sheets. Some of that bird netting or hexagonal plastic chicken wire type stuff. Lay it over the outside and attach it to the PVC.

(2) Small tears let in lots of cold air. I gave up on the PVC after one season and went to panels I made out of 2"x3" lumber. Besides being able to frame it into place, I could put plastic on the outside and on the inside. That double layer works much, much better.

(3) 6 mil plastic costs a lot more than 4 mil plastic, but it's better to bite the bullet and pay the extra $$. You can get away with 4 mil if you have double sheathing like I do, but for a single layer, it doesn't hold up as well as 6 mil.

(4) After every storm, you are going to have to get out and check for tears and make repairs. Duct tape can work wonders.
 
Jeremey Weeks
Posts: 206
Location: Eastern Washington, 8 acres, h. zone 5b
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John, thanks for the tips! I'm planning on building a more permanent structure next summer but would like to keep using this frame for starts, etc. Where would you recommend getting the 6 mil? Should I order greenhouse poly or do you think it matters?

 
John Elliott
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The 6 mil polyethylene is a standard stock item at home stores, along with the 4 mil. If your store doesn't have it in stock, I'm sure they can order it.

I'm kind of a cheapskate, and I can't justify the added expense for greenhouse poly. Now if you are going to make a permanent structure, then I guess you have to split for the polycarbonate panels, but if it comes down in the spring and goes up in the fall (like mine does) I think the cheapest thing that does the job is what you want. For a lot of jobs, 4 mil just doesn't quite do it. Between wind and sun, there is always going to be some that is so tattered it needs to be replaced, but I fold mine up in the spring, store it, and use most of it again putting it back up in the fall.
 
Jeremey Weeks
Posts: 206
Location: Eastern Washington, 8 acres, h. zone 5b
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Here's an update on the greenhouse. It's staying warmer than I expected...

http://thishappyhomestead.com/2013/10/24/greenhouse-update/
 
Jeremey Weeks
Posts: 206
Location: Eastern Washington, 8 acres, h. zone 5b
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Update on the greenhouse.


I ended up replacing the poly. John, you were right about 4 mil not lasting. I had a tear or two. The repair tape wouldn't stay stuck.

I couldn't find the size/thickness of poly at a store, so ended up ordering a 28' x 50' 6 mil sheet. It cost about $250 with shipping.

I'd provide pics, but I'm moving my blog to a different host. Maybe I'll have something up in a week.
 
Su Ba
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Although this little greenhouse isn't applicable for your situation Jeremy, I thought I'd mention it since the title of this discussion is humble PVC greenhouse.
First of all, I don't know how to insert just the greenhouse image, so I'll post the Internet address where you can scroll down the blog and see the picture. It's in the March 26th blog entry. http://kaucommunitygarden.blogspot.com/2013/10/match-2012.html
The PVC greenhouse is 10'x20' made with 1" PVC and a few pieces of 2x4 lumber. Construction was kept extremely simple using no PVC joints. Instead cable ties, electrical tape, and screws were used. The greenhouse is intended to stay at its location, thus screws were employed. If we had intended to be able to move it, then it could have been erected using just electrical tape and rubber strips made from tire inner tubes.

This greenhouse intentionally has open ends allowing the wind to flow through. Even our gusty strong tradewinds have not damaged this design.

The only weakness has been the poly. We originally used 6 ml standard plastic. It lasted 10 months before the sun destroyed it. The second poly cover lasted a few months less. The garden group is getting ready to apply new poly but this time they will go to the expense of using greenhouse poly. The garden group finds that replacing the poly frequently does not fit in with their program of low input and easy gardening techniques.

You'll notice that the pvc isn't white. The pipe has been painted to help protect it from sun damage.

 
Jeremey Weeks
Posts: 206
Location: Eastern Washington, 8 acres, h. zone 5b
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Thanks for posting a link to your greenhouse!

I'm hoping the greenhouse liner lasts a few years for me.

I've decided that I'll keep my greenhouse even after I've moved my AP to a permanent building.

I plan on using it to for plant starts. We'll see.
 
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