When you are homesteading and preparing to live after a collapse or without the luxury of a grocery store, you need to grow your own food. Most people have hobby gardens that they plant in the spring and harvest in the fall. That is just not going to be enough when you are trying to grow enough food to actually feed the family all year round.
For the majority of the country, growing a garden year round or even nine months out of the year is simply not going to be possible. You need to create your own perfect growing conditions to ensure you have a steady supply of food. That can be done with the help of a greenhouse. Even if you have enough land to plant a huge garden that grows enough food that you can preserve the overflow to sustain you during the off seasons, a greenhouse gives you that jump you need on the growing season. It can also take away the worry about an early freeze that can kill young plants. Imagine being able to eat fresh strawberries, salad greens or even crunchy cucumbers in November. It is possible with a greenhouse.
You don’t have to buy some big, fancy greenhouse. You can build one at home. In fact, it won’t even cost you very much. In true homesteading fashion, always look around for used or scrap material. Your greenhouse needs to be functional, not pretty.
Fence Panel Greenhouse
This is a great option and you can choose just how big you want the house to be. This particular style is great because it will be tall enough for you to walk in and move around comfortably. Here is what you will need:
- 1 (can go with more to make the greenhouse longer) cattle panel. These are sold at farm stores for about $20. They are 50 inches high and 16 feet long.
- Grab or buy some scrap 2x4s to build a frame for the bottom. You will need enough wood to build a frame that measures approximately 50 inches long (assuming you are using 1 panel, adjust accordingly if you using more) and the width will be approximately 6 feet across. You will also need to frame in a door. A door that is 6 feet high and 2 feet wide should be adequate.You will also need 1x2s. These can be scraps you find. 2x4s will be needed to frame in a door and to make the actual door to the greenhouse.
- Heavy duty clear plastic is the cheapest option for the walls, but if you want a greenhouse that is more durable, corrugated plastic panels are a great option. Expect to pay about $20 each, which will exceed the $100 price tag for this particular greenhouse.
- Gorilla or duct tape, screws, zip ties, hinges for the door, metal or plastic fasteners and a drill are the last items you will need.
- Assemble the bottom frame. Attach the fence panel to the frame on one side with the fasteners creating a U shape. Attach the panel to the other side of the frame. If you are using plastic, cover the panel, bottom of one side, over the top and down to the other side with plastic.
- Use small scraps of 1x2s to hold the plastic in place. Place the pieces of wood over the outside of the plastic and put a screw through the 1×2, plastic and into the 2×4. This will keep the plastic from tearing if there are any strong winds. Do this on both sides.
- Cover the back end of the U with plastic. Punch very small holes in the plastic to run a zip tie through to attach to the fence panel around the hoop. Cover these areas with the tape to keep it from tearing further. You will want to tape on the inside and the outside.
- Make your door frame and a frame that will slide inside the frame that will be your door. Cover the door with plastic. Add the hinges and attach.
That’s it. Is is a simple greenhouse that will help boost your crops and get your survival garden off to a great start and you won’t spend more than a $100!
Single pane windows are undesirable in homes, which means you can often find them being given away for free on Craigslist and other want ads. Grab them when you find them! Single pane windows are the absolute best for a greenhouse. They let in all that heat that you want.
You don’t have to have all the same size. They can be big and small, square and rectangle. If they are free or cheap, get them. There are plenty of other uses for old windows on the homestead, like making cold frame boxes or solar dehydrators.
Once you have collected enough windows, you need to do a little sketching and design to figure out how you can put them all together to form a greenhouse. Once you have a general idea, here’s what to do:
- You will want to build frames for each of the windows out of wood. This is best done one side at a time. Lay your 2x4s on the ground to build the frames for each side. Once the frames are constructed, add the windows. You can double up on the 2x4s or use roll insulation or another filler if you are not able to create a perfect wall with your windows.
- Use heavy duty clear plastic or the corrugated clear plastic sheets for the roof. Do NOT use the windows for the roof. It is far too risky.
- If you can get your hands on some old sliding glass doors, that is even better. It is quick and easy to build a frame for the doors. All you need is four and you have a good size greenhouse. As long as the track is in place, you already have a door as well!
- The door for your greenhouse made from windows can be an old door you have picked up or made from a wood frame covered with plastic.
- Your greenhouse does not need to be completely transparent. There will still be plenty of light and heat coming through the glass to have the desired effect.
These greenhouses are simple to build and can be done in a single weekend. This is the perfect time of year to get your garden plants started in your very own greenhouse.