7 DIY Greenhouse Ideas That Are True Gardening Gold

Tomato grown in greenhouse
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It’s never too early to start planning your spring garden. Did you know that there’s no better time to plan your spring garden than in the middle of winter? We don’t usually think gardening when it comes to winter but these DIY greenhouse ideas below will change that! Getting ahead of the game not only gets you excited for your spring garden, but it also ensures you’ll be fully prepared when it comes time to sow your garden.

Many areas of the country have rather short growing seasons, so it’s especially critical to have your garden planned early on if you live in one of these areas. If you plan to start your garden from seeds rather than seedlings, be sure you have your seeds ordered. If you don’t know where to get good seeds, check out this list of free gardening catalogs.

Once you have your plan and your seeds in hand, you can start your seeds indoors while it’s still winter. This allows you to get a jump start on planting and extend your growing season. There are lots of green ways to start your seeds indoors in upcycled containers (see some of our favorite ideas). Starting seeds indoors also makes a great project to do with kids if you have them.

DIY Greenhouses galore

Another great way to extend your gardening season is by using a greenhouse. You can buy many beautiful pre-fab greenhouses. However, the cost can be quite expensive and out of the budget of many people, so most people pass on having a greenhouse.

Did you know that you could build your very own greenhouse for a fraction of the cost of purchasing one? While that might sound like a daunting task for many, it can be quite simple if that’s what you’re after.

Here are 7 DIY greenhouse ideas so you can extend your growing season. All of these DIY greenhouse ideas are affordable and vary in skill levels. We included as many upcycling ideas as possible.

1. Hay Bale Cold Frame

Hay Bale Cold Frame DIY Greenhouse

Image Credit – Terrie Schweitzer (Flickr)

If you lack building skills, then a hay bale cold frame is a great option for you. You can design yours to fit any area or space you have available. The only supplies you’ll need are hay bales and clear plastic or recycled windows and some weights (to hold the plastic down if you use it). This means it’s very affordable to build one, and you can take it down easily when you’re done with it too. Start by building out the area you want with hay bales as walls. Then, close in the area with clear plastic (fine for spring or fall) or windows (a better choice if you get snow). Check out this diy greenhouse tutorial for more information.

2. Raised Bed Cold Frames

If you want something a bit sturdier than a hay bale cold frame, then a raised bed cold frame may be a good choice for you. It has the same benefits of a hay bale cold frame, but it will take a bit more time to construct and won’t be quite as easy to tear down. However, they are more durable and easier to seal up air leaks if constructed properly. This diy greenhouse tutorial has great plans you can follow for building your own raised bed cold frame.

3. Convertible Hoop House

Building a convertible hoop house is a really neat DIY idea for your greenhouse. One way to make your own convertible hoop house is by using a cattle panel to create a hoop. Then you can cover this hoop with heavy duty plastic to create your greenhouse. During the summer, you can remove the plastic and use the structure as a trellis for growing green beans, tomatoes or other vined plants. Get the detailed instructions for building a convertible hoop house here.

4. Row Cover Hoop House

If making a hoop house from a cattle panel sounds a little too daunting to start with, give a row cover hoop house a try first. It’s easier to construct and experiment with, but can still give you some great results. Most row cover hoop houses are made from PVC pipe and plastic or frost blankets. Row cover hoop houses allow you to cover just those crops that need protection from the cold temperatures while allowing crops that thrive in frosty conditions to enjoy that weather. Learn how to build a row cover hoop house here. Don’t want to use PVC for your hoop house? Check out this tutorial to learn how to make one using branches instead.

5. Recycled Windows Greenhouse

Want to try something a bit larger and more complex? How about a greenhouse made from recycled windows? You can usually pick up old windows for a good price. It’s a great way to keep windows from ending up in the landfill and it will also make a great statement piece in your yard. Once you have collected enough of them to make your greenhouse the ideal size for your space, you’ll find it’s quite affordable to build your greenhouse from there. Check out this tutorial for more tips on how to bring this DIY idea to life. This guide also has some great ideas you can use.

6. Plastic Bottle Greenhouse

Take your “green” house a step further on the eco-friendly scale and build it out of discarded plastic bottles. Far too many plastic bottles end up in the trash rather than recycling bin. You can rescue them from their fate and put them to good use growing food for your family in a plastic bottle greenhouse. It’s a very affordable project to do and the result is a conversation sparker too. Check out how students at Wilmington College are building a plastic bottle greenhouse in this article.

7. Pallet Greenhouse

The last of our DIY ideas for building your own greenhouse is a pallet greenhouse. Pallets are useful in so many DIY projects that we couldn’t leave it out here. There are many ways to use pallets in your greenhouse – for walls, tables, planters and more. This video shows one way you can build a greenhouse using wood pallets as components.

Are you a gardener? Which of these DIY ideas for building your own greenhouse is your favorite?

Feature image courtesy of Michael Shealy (Flickr


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Chrystal Johnson

Chrystal Johnson, publisher of Happy Mothering, founder of Green Moms Media and essential oil fanatic, is a mother of two sweet girls who believes in living a simple, natural lifestyle. A former corporate marketing communication manager, Chrystal spends her time researching green and eco-friendly alternatives to improve her family's life.