Winter is definitely on its way and that leaves us wondering what to do with our beloved plants that we don’t have room for inside. A good frost can kill even the healthiest of plants if they aren’t meant to weather the cold. And while it would be great if there was always space in the house for them, we know better.
Building a miniature greenhouse can be an inexpensive way to keep your plants warm during these cold wintery days. By obtaining just a few common supplies, a homemade greenhouse could be up and running in just a day or two.
Which supplies you need depend on how involved/what shape you want your greenhouse to be. A miniature dome greenhouse can be constructed for about $25 using PVC piping, connectors, glue and sheet plastic. This construction will be very lightweight, however, so sandbags or some other method of securing it will be necessary.
Using a bit more time and money, a larger or sturdier greenhouse can also be easily constructed. Another design uses wire cattle panels (heavy duty wire), zip-ties, duct tape, electrical tape, rebar, PVC, and wood. This model costs around $140. It could also be completed using additional PVC in place of the cattle panels ($84) for a slightly less sturdy but cheaper version.
Others have built homemade greenhouses using wood covered with plastic. These can be low to the ground, up against a building, or free standing. Cost can be very inexpensive to more pricey than the options above, depending on size and sophistication of design—for example, do you want it to look like a nice little house, or can it just look like a box of wood covered in plastic?
Greenhouse temperatures generally stay about 10 degrees warmer than the outside temperature. Some plastics scatter light as well, which means that plants will get the maximum amount of sun (provided they are placed in an area that gets sunlight). Humidity will inevitably begin to build up, and this can also contribute to a warmer temperature and happier plants.