Growing organic greens doesn’t always mean spending a lot of green.
DIY guru Beth Allen and Susie Beiler from Spectrum Health Consulting sought to prove that very notion’s validity by constructing a small greenhouse using PVC pipe, fittings and plexiglass. Amazingly, the project’s budget would come in well under the average trip to the grocery store.
For supplies, Beiler mentions that she found cheap PVC pipe from the Habitat for Humanities ReStore in Chalfont, Pennsylvania. The ReStore is a resale shop with “all sorts of goodies,” says Allen. Beiler was able to obtain plexiglass from Freecycle.org, which is an online community for those looking to give and receive things for free within a given region.
With the PVC pipe, plexiglass and a few “connectable parts” purchased from Home Depot, all that stood in Beiler’s way for growing her organic garden all winter long was for the duo to get the project underway. Allen posted the video below to her DIYHIPChicks YouTube channel back on March 3, 2013, demonstrating the step-by-step process.
In the video, Allen and Beiler explain that they intend to build the exterior of their small greenhouse box from five pieces of plexiglass, while using the PVC pipe and fittings as a frame. This process first involves measuring and cutting the plexiglass to the desired dimensions, which in Beiler’s case is 36 inches by 24 inches by 18 inches high. They also include a 1-inch drop in height from back to front to allow for rainwater to run off the fifth piece of plexiglass, the lid.
Next they move on to measuring and cutting the PVC pipe frame. Once cut, they attach the pieces with PVC elbow fittings to complete structure, which will give the plexiglass walls their integrity. Deck screws are then used to connect the PVC frame to the plexiglass, and the end product truly starts to take form. For the finale, they attach hinges to the box and the lid, and just like that, Beiler’s affordable greenhouse is now complete.
When Allen asked Beiler what she intends to grow first in her new greenhouse, Beiler replies, “I actually have some turnip and carrot seedlings started inside,” adding she was “going to put them in the dirt and put this [greenhouse] over it.” The greenhouse can be used 12 months out of the year, but Beiler mentions that it probably won’t be necessary in the summer where she lives in Pennsylvania.
Remarkably, Beiler claims the project ended up with a price tag of $10. Allen notes that in the event a viewer wishes to build a similar greenhouse, but can’t find a local Habitat for Humanities ReStore or get plexiglass from Freecycle.org, then the project will still cost only around $50 — a small price to pay for a rewarding organic gardening solution that could yield affordable goodness for years to come.