- Education and Science
A Low Cost Do-It-Yourself Greenhouse
This Greenhouse using Inexpensive Materials Costs Less than US$60.00 if you Build it Yourself
Why Build a Low Cost Greenhouse?
Normally a greenhouse is not needed in a location that has a sub-tropical climate like Houston, Texas. We have been unsuccessful in growing papaya plants in the past. For the first time in many years, we had success in 2013 so we wanted to preserve the papaya plants. The plants have borne fruits and we have enjoyed eating many of them. The plants have grown to over five feet tall.
At the beginning of the year (2014) we received the weather forecast there was going to be a deep freeze. Since the papaya plants cannot be fully covered, even with the old super size bed sheets, we decided to build a greenhouse over the papaya plants.
Our Papaya Tree had borne fruits for the first time in 2013
Tools and Building Materials to Construct the Greenhouse
Site Planning First measure the site where you intend to build the greenhouse. Our site measures 8 feet x 7 feet. This is a good and economical size because the most common building lumber that is sold commercially come in 8 feet lengths.
Construction Tools The basic tools to construct this greenhouse are usually found in every home. A 30 feet steel retractable tape is used for the measurement. A triangle is used to erect the vertical and horizontal pieces at the right angle. Use the hoe and shovel to excavate the holes for the footings. Use a leveling instrument to level the concrete block footings. Use the saw, hammer and screw driver to erect the framework. Before fastening the connections use the leveling instrument to plumb the vertical and horizontal lumber pieces.
Concrete Block Footings The bottom of the corner pieces are placed in the cavities of the 8"x8"x16" concrete blocks that are buried below the earth leaving the top 1/2" above the grade level.
Framework Erection Since this is a small building structure that does not carry much weight we can use the smallest lumber sizes to build. For the vertical corner pieces of the framework 2"x2" are used. For the horizontal framing pieces 2"x1" may be used. The roof rafters are 3" x 1" joined at the apex with metal gang-nails. Use #6 x 1-1/2" flat head Phillips screws as fasteners for the connections. It is important to fasten braces at the corners to ensure the framework is square and also it will stay square.
Roof and Wall Covering Two rolls of clear transparent Plastic Sheets, each 10 feet wide x 25 feet long, overlap one another crosswise. They can be fastened to the timber frames by 1/2 inch wide staples.The Plastic Sheets cost less than $14.00 per roll including the sales tax.
Price of Building Materials We bought the building materials at Home Depot at the end of December 2013. Since the beginning of 2014 the prices have increased by 5%..
Time of Construction It depends on one's knowledge and skill in building construction, and of course the weather condition as well. Due to the Deep Freeze that was coming the time of construction of the Greenhouse was limited to three (3) days plus the evenings working under very cold temperature. On the evening that the building project was completed the temperature had dropped to 33 degrees F (0.6 deg. C). The temperature had gone down to below the freezing level of 27 degrees F(-2.8 deg. C) during the early morning hours.