Ten Alternative Ways To Build A Greenhouse:
1: Shipping containers are piling up unused around the country, and the cost of recycling them is substantial. So why not pick one up? You can have them delivered and plopped on your land for around 1000.00 to 2000.00 bucks depending on quality of container you want. I have seen some full size ones (8×40) in not as good of shape for 400.00 bucks. But they can easily be converted to hold windows and lots of linear space for tiers for your plants and veggies. You could build off the sides and even the roof of it to accommodate for more growing space and keep the delicate crops inside of the container.
2: PVC enclosures are relatively cheap to build, using flexible PVC piping, plastic, a little wood, and some work. You can use your imagination to create whatever size and design you want. Dome, Square, Rectangular, or Octagonal, you can build one pretty quick. There are many kits, but for maximum dollar efficiency, build your own.
3: Wood framed greenhouses are a great way to have a sturdy enclosure with limitless design capabilities. Figure out how much you want to grow, and how much space it will take to grow that much. Using recycled wood, windows, doors, and scrapped parts are the cheap way to build a greenhouse but it could look Frankensteiny. If you have custom ideas in mind, your budget is your only limitation. You can have a well built and well insulated greenhouse going this route.
4: The Tiki Hut greenhouse is a very practical way to go if you live in a tropical climate. Since tropical climates are great for growing year around, your only concern is too much sun. Using trees for framing and palm branch thatching for roofing, you can keep the sun off directly for sensitive items that you may grow. It will also keep excessive water from pounding it. I have seen some very nice and big Tiki Hut greenhouses that were practically free to build. Just requires a few weekends of labor.
5: The Log Cabin Style greenhouse would be the one to consider if you lived in the mountains or heavily wooded area. You would in a sense take trees and stack up horizontally to create walls and build a roof by the same method. If you plan it first you can estimate how many and what size trees you will be expected to use for the project. Create openings in walls for windows and some skylights in roof for light, there are several ways to use timber for structural framing.
6: The old yellow school bus greenhouse is a funny concept but if you have one lying around it can be converted into a great greenhouse. With all the windows and the capability of putting skylights in the steel ceiling above, they can provide shelter and light. Check out junkyards and such, you just might be able to pick one up cheap. Just think you could deliver fresh veggies on the road if you wanted too. That would be a sight!
7: What to do with that old modular home sitting on your land? Well nothings uglier than an old modular home taking up space on your land. Why don’t you beautify it up by planting vine bearing fruits and veggies all over it and filling the gutted inside with shelves for more growth. There is a vast amount of useable space in and around that can be used.
8: Old Panel doors are seemingly found in rural settings just stacking up somewhere just waiting to be picked up and used. Gather up as many as you can find then you guessed it; connect several together using bracing and straps to create long walls and a roof. A rectangular one would be most efficient way to go with building a stable roof using the doors. Tons of light and with a little work you could have a cheap alternative greenhouse.
9: The Indian Tipi style greenhouse is a great way to go if you need several smaller ones for various crops. Using wood poles or trees for center supports and some plastic to wrap them in and there you go. Crude but effective, and make sure you don’t live in a windy place or it might not be your best choice.
10: The underground greenhouse is a way in rough climate environment to protect your crops. Dig a rectangular hole 10’x30’x at least 8’ tall or deep. Then place high strength plexi-glass in frames to span the hole. Wind proof and climate controlled the only obstacle would be rain. The solution is a pitched roof that starts at ground level and goes up to deflect rain. Gutters or 3’ wide aluminum flashing around the top perimeter would also help keep rain from filling your underground greenhouse.
These are all some ideas for a low cost and alternative greenhouse. Depending on your resources and needs, you can decide which one might be suitable or plausible. Remember you don’t have to go fancy to have great gardens and great tasting food.