Rebuilding The Greenhouse

Projects on the homestead go like this:  we just keep adding to the list (familiar with that stage?), and then about a year before project time comes, we look around at the resources we’ve accumulated and decide what either can get done, or what has to get done.  We usually pick one or two for each year.

We started with an old greenhouse that burned down a few years ago. With minimal finances, we've learned to use what we have to rebuild it so we can start using one again. This year, we picked to re-do our greenhouse that burned down four years ago. That’s right–I’ve been four years without a green house. Can I tell you how thankful I am to finally get it done?

Our last spring frost in 2014 was June 30, and the first fall frost was August 28. There were a little less than two months without a frost.  Our growing season is 70 days.  You can only grow so much here without a green house… I need my greenhouse!  Moving on…

What has kept us from getting this done?

Frustration and finances.

They just don’t make things like they used to.  (So cliche, I know, but true.)  No matter what we choose for an exterior, it’s going to break down with weather. By the time we find something that can withstand our winds and hail storms, it’s as much as a small vehicle.

We decided to compromise and get a clear plastic polyethylene film covering that is guaranteed for 4 years.

Getting Started:

Believe it or not, when it caught on fire four years ago, all we did was put the fire out.  So, there was a lot of cleaning to do.  We had to pull what was left of the fiberglass sheets off.  We removed all the screws holding them on and kept them. About half of what was inside was ruined, so we had to get rid of that stuff too.

The aluminum frame was broken in a few spots, so the Farmer spent a little while welding it back together.

Next we decided not to run the plastic all the way to the ground.  First of all, critters would have an easy time chewing and ripping through.  Second of all, it was costly, and probably not needed.  We had saved several sheets of galvanized roofing from an old hay shed.  We used four of these sheets and the same screws that came out of the aluminum frame to construct the bottom.

We started with an old greenhouse that burned down a few years ago. With minimal finances, we've learned to use what we have to rebuild it so we can start using one again. Then we unrolled the plastic.  Since the greenhouse is 16 feet long, we thought it would be tight, but were pleasantly surprised.  There was enough plastic on both ends to pull tight.  We used some 1 x 1 scrap boards to roll the bottoms tight and screw to the tops of the tin. (Click any picture to enlarge.)

We found some plexi-glass in one of the barns that we will cut to fit the door, and we’re constructing a flap for the back that I will be able to open during the warmer weather.

The outer shell is almost complete, and I couldn’t be more excited.  I have some time before it needs to be ready for use, but I’m already dreaming of getting started in there.

We started with an old greenhouse that burned down a few years ago. With minimal finances, we've learned to use what we have to rebuild it so we can start using one again.

What is your most recent recycling project?



  1. Hey the greenhouse (hothouse here) looks fantastic and I am sure you can’t wait to use it. You have done yours very similar to how we did ours over our aquaponics. Sometimes it takes ages to get things done – due to finances and such (ours is usually due to lack of finances) but when we finally get it done we appreciate it so much. Thanks for sharing this. Blessings and I can’t wait to see pictures once you start using it.

  2. Congratulations on your new greenhouse! I would like to have one someday. Right now I use a cold frame to get our plants a head start. I’ll need to transplant the cucumbers and tomatoes into the garden soon. I’m hoping the weather will be warm enough next week.

    • I don’t get to put anything out in the dirt until June 1, so a greenhouse is every woman’s fantasy around here. Oh wait, I really want a high tunnel…But that’s $7,000 on the low end. So…this will work for now. I’m excited for your cucumbers and tomatoes though!

  3. A 70-day growing season? Ouch! You really must be doing some intensive planting to get all of your goodies in. The greenhouse looks fabulous and I love how resourceful y’all are. Thanks for sharing this! Enjoy!

    • Yes, we have to be creative. And, most importantly, I’ve learned to alter my expectations as to what I can grow. It was painful the first couple years, but I’ve adjusted now.

  4. You have made me grateful for our year round growing season (we don’t get snow ever)! 70 days!!! Wow. What a blessing that you were able to rebuild this year! We recently recycled wood from our old fence posts to make hay feeders for the goats and sheep that were wasting way too much food. Thank you for sharing!

    • Year round growing? Wow. That would be awesome! I love being in my garden for hours a day, but I also love the winters and then sewing for hours. I’ve been waiting for years for this greenhouse, so I’m very grateful. Good job on recycling the fence posts (animals can waste a lot of food, can’t they?).

  5. That is fantastic. Four years is a while to wait. I’m glad you were able to rebuild it.

    • Thanks Krista. Unfortunately, this article is a year old. We had a harsh storm come through a week or two after it was finished and I never got to use it 🙁 . We have plans for a new one coming this year hopefully.

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