Do it yourself, do it cheap
I usually tend to say: if you buy cheap, you’ll buy twice. Maybe this could also be said for my greenhouse, nevertheless, this way of building a greenhouse is about 6 times cheaper than buying a prefabricated metal greenhouse.
5 years passed since we built our greenhouse. Although we had to tear it down after a heavy snowstorm, I want to share my experience with it. It was probably the cheapest way possible to build a greenhouse. We bought flexible plastic pipes, some wooden pillars and the UV resistant plastic greenhouse foil. First, we had to mark and measure the size of the planned greenhouse and staked it out with guylines for digging the holes. The main pillars were put in 0.5m holes filled with fine sand and then stomped in place.
We had some issues getting those plastic tubes delivered because we could not bend them so much to use our trailer so a whole truck with the trailer had to come.
We were some kind in a hurry to build that greenhouse because we had planted a lot of seeds and they had to be moved outside in a greenhouse to get more light. Also, we saw that the seedlings started to bend – they grew too fast because of the heat and lack of light. So their shafts were long and thin – not good!
The installation of the plastic tubes was really annoying. We had to drill a hole in the ground for each tube, plus using clamps on the main beam to fixate the tubes. The problem was, the clamps were from hardened flexible steel. We were not able to drill holes in them, I think we managed to destroy around 5 drill bits. Then my father went to his friend who has a lot of metal processing tools and they were somehow able to drill holes in those clamps. I think his friend was not amused about that.
Anyway, after we fixated the clamps we could then fit in the pipes and the greenhouse is showing its size. It was 30m x 6m.
After that, it was time to pull over the foil and attach it with clamps. You can’t use regular foil for that it has to be UV resistant foil. Otherwise, it will get brittle with time and break. The most difficult task was to tighten and fix the foil so it looks good and is under tension. The problem were the plastic tubes, the first and the last start to bend inwards under the pressure. So I took other tubes and screwed the 1st, 2nd and 3rd tube together (under an angle) – problem solved.
Thoughts on DIY greenhouses
I could slap myself honestly, I was not taking care of the greenhouse. When the first big snow came in, the pipes broke under the pressure and the foil tore apart. Also, the centre beams started to sag with time. I bought beams from fresh cut wood and then the intense heat in the summer bent the beams. Some bent so intense that they pulled out the screws from the pillars. Force of nature I guess. Although this seems a good and cheap greenhouse, it’s not designed to last for more than several years. My next greenhouse will definitely be one with a steel construction. It lasts forever, although prone to bend in the snow. If taken care, it can last a lifetime. Only the foil has to be changed every now and then.
Why is a greenhouse important?
I don’t know what you think about this. But I don’t like to eat vegetables from the grocery store. It’s full of pesticides and toxins. Doesn’t matter where you buy it, if you don’t see it grow, you can’t say for sure it’s healthy. I rather don’t eat vegetables than eat those from the store. Growing and eating your own stuff is a very healthy experience and fills you with joy. As a nice side-effect, you are not dependent and can live self-reliant and off the grid. With some skills and knowledge, you can supply your family the whole year from one greenhouse with fresh and preserved vegetables. And big advantages of greenhouses are:
- You can plant your seedlings much, much earlier
- You can harvest your vegetables until late Summer, even mid or even late Autumn
- Your vegetables are protected against hail storms
- Your vegetables are somehow protected against diseases and insects
- A good greenhouse is expensive
- Prone to damage in snow and extreme winds
- You need to water your vegetables regularly or install watering systems
- You can’t use a tractor inside (except you own a small greenhouse tractor)
- In summer heats it has to be vented
- Working in a greenhouse in mid summer is really hard
Greenhouse from a prepper point of view
A greenhouse is not so interesting as a pimped offroad truck with a load bearing vest and an AR-15 machine gun. But realistically, a greenhouse will help you survive more than those things. Also, if you decide to go for a greenhouse you will live healthier and have more joy in life. Believe me. Eating your own grown stuff makes you happy. I think that is a really good investition for long-term survival and to fill food-shortage gaps. And, from my experience, you will tend to preserve every single tomato you grow, forcing you to learn that techniques of vegetable presarvation, thus eating your fruits throughout the year.
I am interested in your thoughts, because this blog is pretty fresh it could need some comments 🙂 Moving from YouTube to Blogging I somehow miss the feedback from you guys on the other side, so please drop a line.