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Building a Greenhouse

Having a greenhouse is a major advantage for any gardener. You can keep plants that would normally not winter well in your area and can grow a much wider variety of flowers. This is a guide about building a greenhouse.


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April 10, 2008 Flag


I am looking for cheap greenhouse shelving. Any ideas?

Doreen from Pine Plains, NY


Hi Doreen,

There are several things to consider when setting up a shelving system for your greenhouse. First, greenhouses are moist environments, so look for shelving made from a material that will hold up to the constant humidity without rusting or rotting. Next, unless you plan to supplement available natural light with artificial lights, look for open shelving that allows light to penetrate through to the shelves beneath it. Finally, make sure the shelving you choose can hold up to the weight of lots of pots filled with plants and moist soil. Other things to consider are size, ease of cleaning, portability, and of course most importantly, your budget.


Sam's Club features a shelving system made out of commercial grade chrome steel for around $75 (plus shipping if you don't have one nearby). The systems features 6 adjustable wire shelves, each rated for up to 600lbs. As an added bonus, the whole system is on casters, which makes moving and cleaning it more convenient, and if you decide to add grow lights to any of the shelves, the fact that they are open will make them easy to hang. If these fit your size and are within your budget, they seem like a great deal to me.

Target also feature similar shelving units in various sizes. I suspect you could find similar units at most of the larger retail discount stores and home centers.

Depending on how your greenhouse has been constructed, another option is to use the wall-mounted closet shelving designed for organizing closets. This is easy to find at any major home or garden center. It allows you to customize your shelving and add to it as your budget allows. The shelves are open and usually coated with plastic. Because they are designed to accommodate hangers, they are ready made for hanging pots. Plan to reinforce them with extra brackets to account for the added weight of heavy pots.

Other ideas include browsing building salvage companies and area thrift stores like Goodwill. You never know when you are going to stumble upon an old bookcase or other piece of furniture that can be converted into shelving.

If you are willing to be creative, consider taking out an ad in a local mid-week or hanging up flyers. People who are spring cleaning their house or garage may be more than happy to unload their "junk" for free (or for trade) as long as you're willing to pick it up. For cheap reclaimed building supplies, don't forget to check out your local materials exchange:


Good luck!


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February 28, 20080 found this helpful

I used concrete blocks and free wood from

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October 9, 2008 Flag

It looked like it would soon be raining; I couldn't stand the thought of having so many soon-to-be ripe tomatoes rotting on the vines, so I decided to do something about it. I created a make-shift greenhouse.

It was fantastic that my husband had formed our huge tomato cages from a roll of wire (the kind used for cement slabs). All I had to do was trim the tops of our tomato plants so they would not extend past the top of the 'cages'. I was thrilled that our plants were next to a wire fence, meaning I could use that as one 'wall', attaching the semi-clear heavy plastic to it. I merely pulled the plastic over the wire cages, letting the plastic come to the ground.

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I know from previous experience, I'll need to make a way so the plastic doesn't remain on the plants for too long, or else they will mold. Since the plastic isn't touching much of the actual foliage, I figure I'm safe for now. The two ends of the 'greenhouse' are open, but I don't expect any major storms before the last of the tomatoes are picked anyway.

A few days later, I merely made sure to remove any standing water from a couple of places it had pooled on top of my 'greenhouse'. I was able to pick lots of beautiful tomatoes, and expect many more to ripen soon.

By Cyndi from Angwin CA

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November 9, 20080 found this helpful

I love fresh tomatoes and will certainly try this!

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November 1, 2007 Flag

When the winter months enable us to do our gardening outside, I decided to bring much of my garden inside. We cleaned out under our basement steps.

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March 1, 2010 Flag

I want to start my vegetable plants for the spring indoors now, then transplant them in 8-10 weeks outdoors. I need suggestions on how I can build a frugal greenhouse in the garage. The only thing is the garage has no heat. I don't know how to add that to the installation. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

Hardiness Zone: 7a

By Michael from Knoxville, TN

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March 22, 20100 found this helpful

Yes a little electric space heater does the trick! I use one of those electric oil heaters and it works perfectly! I also keep a fan (the ones you can clip on anywhere) going for air circulation. We replaced the windows in our house last year, as did our neighbor. All of the old windows were saved and went into building my new greenhouse! Have fun!

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March 31, 2012 Flag

If I can only go 10 feet wide on my greenhouse, can I use the same lenghts of PVC in your 14 foot wide plan and just obtain a higher arc or will the stress on the PVC be too great?

By Bob

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