Building a structure that allows food to be grown all year long is not as hard as it sounds. This structure becomes an open garden plot in the spring, a shade house for the summer, and finally a greenhouse in the winter.
First, read the instructions thoroughly and choose your garden plot area carefully. If renting, get written permission from the owner.
Another advantage of this structure is that when nothing is grown; cover it with fabric using the clamps. This then becomes a fort, playhouse, gazebo, etc.
Here are a few rules to keep in mind:
• Call the local utility company and have phone and electrical wiring marked so you don’t accidentally dig through anything.
• Call the water utility board to make sure you won’t dig through water or septic lines.
• Always follow safety instructions for any hand or power tools, ladders, glues, lifting practices, etc.
• Do not allow children to hang on the walls or mount a swing from the roof. It isn’t designed for this.
• If using hanging baskets, fill with a non-soil mix. Make sure no more than 100 pounds total weight hangs from the ceiling.
• In the winter, only use a greenhouse rated electrical heater with an automatic shut-off in case of a problem.
• Never burn anything inside a greenhouse for heat. You will suffocate and so will the plants.
You will need:
* 6 each 2-by-12-by-10 pressure treated lumber
* Construction level
* 12 landscape stakes
* 32- 3″ galvanized wood deck screws
* Drill and bits, outdoor rated extension cord
* 18 each 3/4″ conduit clamps
* 8 each 4″ hose clamps
* 1 rolls outdoor duct tape
* Tape measure
* 12 each 3/4″ PVC snap clamp, 4-feet long
* 24 each 10′ long 3/4″ PVC pipe
* Greenhouse UV protected plastic
* 40 percent solar shade fabric for nurseries
* 1 each inexpensive screen door
* 4 each 3/4″ 90 degree connectors
* 8 each 3/4″ tee connectors
* PVC primer and glue
* Hacksaw with PVC blade
Begin by leveling the soil in a 10 foot by 10-foot space. Using four of the 2-by-12 boards, make a square by drilling pilot holes in the ends of the boards first and driving 4 3″ screws into the ends. The boards are going to stand up on their side. Anchor the frame to the ground by driving in the landscape stakes and attaching them to the outside walls.
Measure a third 2-by-12 board, mark the center, and cut it in half. This board will form the back of the greenhouse growing bed 2 feet from the inside of the square and centered. Prop it on it side for now with the landscape stakes.
Cut the other two boards to be attached to each end of the 6-foot board and ending at the front board of the greenhouse. Make sure that each of the inside boards is 2 feet from the outside board. This gives a U shaped growing bed. If this type of growing bed isn’t desired, omit it.
Measure the inside distance along the sides of the frame. Divide this by 6 and mark along each side. This is where the PVC pipes will be. Cut 6 PVC pipes, each 7 feet long and make a mark 1 foot from the edge. Using the conduit clamp, attach the pipes to the inside of the frame at the marks. Measure each pipe to make sure they are all even at 6-feet tall. This will ensure the roof is level. Do the same on the other side.
Dry fit a 45-degree angle coupling onto each 6-foot pipe. Insert a PVC pipe into the fittings, mark where they meet and subtract 1/2.” Cut to length and attach at the top with another 45- degree angle. When all the angles are attached, glue in place with the PVC primer and glue.
Measure along the back of the frame and mark every two feet, including the corner. Cut 6 more PVC pipes 7 feet long, marking and mounting them along the inside of the back as in step 3. Dry fit 90-degree angle pieces and tee fittings on each pole. Cut PVC pipe to fit in between the poles, making sure the cross pipe is level. Prime and glue in place. Using the hose clamps and keeping the screw inside of the structure, tie the poles together at the inside corners. This will provide strength for the structure and keep it from swaying in a storm.
Measure across the front of the frame and mark the center. Measure 18″ from each side of the center and mark the frame. This will form the entry space. Measure from each mark to the corner and divide by 3, marking the frame. Mount poles as in step 5.
Using the outside duct tape, cover the ends and the screws of the hose clamps to keep anyone from being scratched when they are inside working. Attach a 10-foot PVC pipe to the underside of the top 45-degree angle pieces. Attach with screws through the PVC pipe, or heavy gauge wire can be used and covered with duct tape. This provides further stability to the structure.
Mount a screen door in the space, cutting the base 2-by-12 to fit or make a door from PVC ends. An opening can also be created by using two overlapping sheets of greenhouse plastic or by installing a zipper in the plastic available at greenhouse suppliers. Use the zippers to create windows that allow better temperature control when needed, if desired.
Cut each of the PVC clamps into eight equal pieces. Cover the structure with greenhouse plastic and attach using the clamps. Either tuck the plastic to the inside of the frame or allow it to drape over the outside edge. This can be tacked down using a tack strip or small nails. During the spring, solar shade fabric available for nurseries can be used to cut the intense exposure from the sun during the summer.
The possibilities for your new green house/screen house/ gazebo/ playhouse are endless. And, you save money by not having to buy or fill the yard with different buildings.