5 DIY Greenhouse Ideas for Growing Your Own Food Easily

Even though the cold winter months are quickly approaching, you mustn’t think for a second that it’s too early to start planning for your spring harvest. Gardening might not be the first thing to come to mind when we think of winter, but these DIY greenhouse ideas will soon change your perspective!

The middle of the winter, when you probably entertain fewer outdoor activities, might just be the ideal time to plan your spring garden. Getting ahead of the game is not just exciting; it also ensures that spring will find you ready to sow your garden.

Learning the Theory

Before we get to action, it’s only fair that you catch up on a bit of useful reading about gardening. This is especially useful for those who have never had a DIY greenhouse before. There are two classics that you might want to read before you start planting.

One of them is “Four Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long” by Elliot Colman. In this book, Colman shares inexpensive solutions for root cellars, cold frames, and unheated mobile greenhouses. His example of gardening year round in a cold environment is definitely inspiring.

“The Forest Garden Greenhouse” is the new groundbreaking book written by Jerome Osentowski. He is a brilliant permaculture designer who took on the challenge of growing bananas and citrus in -30 winters.

Getting Started

Do you live in an area with short growing seasons? Then it’s particularly critical to start planning your garden early. If you want to start a garden from seeds instead of seedlings, make sure you order your seeds ahead of time. For best results, choose heirloom or organic seeds. They will ensure you can save seeds for next year’s sowing.

Saving seeds from hybrid plants is not a good idea, especially for a beginner gardener. They will either be sterile or provide unexpected results. If you feel out of your element when it comes to choosing the right seeds, check out this list of free gardening catalogs.

Now you have a plan and the seeds in your hand. Next step is starting your seed garden indoors. Getting a jump start during winter will allow you to extend your growing season. Upcycled containers are a great green way to plant your seeds indoors. If you have kids, make this DIY project a family hobby, using it to teach them about leading a sustainable lifestyle.

DIY Greenhouse 101

You really do not need a really good budget or an expensive greenhouse to feed your gardening desire. Instead, starting a DIY greenhouse project might be perfect for you. While there are plenty of beautiful pre-fab greenhouses on the market, you can build your very own greenhouse for a fraction of the cost of buying one.

While some might consider it a daunting task, building a greenhouse from scratch it can be quite fun if you know where to start. Below you will find 5 DIY greenhouse ideas that are not just affordable, but also vary in skill levels for all of our readers out there.

1. Barn Greenhouse

So you don’t want to build a big greenhouse; this wood-based barn idea might be the best solution for you. You don’t have to spend a fortune on it; the overall cost will definitely be lower than if you buy a greenhouse kit.

What You Need:

  • Stud walls
  • Corrugated plastic greenhouse panels
  • Tin panels
  • Tin screws
  • L flashing (optional for the corners)
  • Metal gussets

Get started by cutting the wall framing from the wood boards you have available. Use roofing tin for the side paneling, as it provides extra strength. Metal flashing can help you trim the corners of the panels.

Interested in building this particular DIY greenhouse? Check out the detail plans.

2. Dome-shaped Greenhouse

This type of greenhouse might be just what we you are looking for, given that it needs not foundation and it can be portable or temporary. It will be easy to take it with you, should you ever move.

What You Need:

  • Wood – untreated spruce lumber is durable
  • A pound of screws
  • Covering – greenhouse plastic can be easily used on a dome, since there is not so much strain on it. Other options: polycarbonate, shrink foil, or bubble Solawrap foil.
  • Automatic window hinges and openers for the door and the windows

Check out the step-by-step instructions for this greenhouse plan.

3. The ‘Hoop’ Greenhouse

The design for this particular greenhouse has a round formation. It is very easy to build given that is less complex than other options out there. All of the materials you will need for this project can be repurposed and upcycled. Therefore, building it might cost you practically nothing.

The hoop greenhouse is a great solution if you need to build a cold frame but you don’t have a big budget. It discards the aesthetics in favor of maximum functionality. You can get the instructions for free at Backwoods Home.

4. The Upcycled Old Windows Greenhouse

Maybe you want to start with something small, such as a greenhouse that will start a few seeds or prolong a plant’s life. Greenhouses are not just for growing mass amounts of food. This idea uses old windows for the structure, which translates in a minimum amount of added cost.

What You Need:

  • Old windows of various sizes (Craigslist is a treasure mine)
  • Lumber for the frame
  • Screws
  • Caulk
  • Latches

One of the best things about this greenhouse is that it’s quaint looking, improving the look of your garden or yard. Go through the step-by-step construction of the DIY greenhouse before you start planning.

5. The ‘Garage’ Greenhouse

The name comes from the fact that it kind of works like a garage. It has a very unique design, it fits perfectly in a smaller yard and doesn’t take up a lot of space. Because it’s not freestanding, it doesn’t have to be up all year long.

What You Need:

  • PVC pipes
  • Plastic sheet
  • Cutting
  • Spring clamps

With this greenhouse design, all of your plants will be up against the house. You can even make room for a small garden next to your house in addition to some shelving for potted plants. It’s basically a cold frame greenhouse that can be folded back when it is not in use.

Build this DIY greenhouse with help.

What are you waiting for? Do your reading, gather the tools and the necessary materials, and get to work! Then tell us all about your DIY greenhouse successes in the comment section below!

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William E. Eubanks

I'm one of the main writers on the site; mostly dealing with environmental news and ways to live green. My goal is to educate others about this great planet, and the ways we can help to protect it.

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