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Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Building a Makeshift Greenhouse

Husband placing the pipe on the rebar!
We have a slight gardening issue up here at altitude in the Sierra Nevadas. . .even in summer, our nights can get chilly.  More problematic than that, however, is the fact that we have a ton of critters who LOVE to nibble on fresh veggies and their leaves.

I haven't made it to the point of putting in a permanent, strongly fenced-in vegetable garden, though.  Still too many stumps and un-level clayish ground to contend with before I fork out the cash to put in a proper animal-proof fenced garden.

But this will be my third spring back in the US after YEARS of miserable gardening weather in the UK, and I am not going to let it pass me by.

The first year, I was okay with a few pots of herbs on the deck.  We had just moved, after all.

The next year, I managed some tomatoes and garlic in large containers, along with an expanded herb selection.

But this year, that's just not enough.  Not by a long shot.

So, I've decided to take the bull by the horns and build a bit of a makeshift poly-tunnel.  I hope this will keep the critters at bay while also keeping the plants nice and warm at night.  I'm not going to use heavy fencing materials, so I know my structure will be a slight suggestion to stay out rather than an order, but I'm going to take the chance, anyway.

The basic structure done, now for the cover!
We're going to keep things very close to the house, in a spot we'd actually begun to dig out for a patio.  We're using some things that were left by the previous owner--rebar and pvc pipe--to build the structure.  After hammering 4 feet lengths of rebar into the ground to a depth of two feet, we're simply slipping the pipe ends over the exposed rebar to form an arch. Then, we'll drape plastic over the whole thing to form the enclosure.

Not very high-tech, nor particularly animal proof, but hopefully enough to do the job.

We're intending to do a raised bed on the right side, near the earth wall, and a bunch of pots on the other side (tomatoes and garlic and beans, etc.).  I have no idea how this is all going to work out, but we'll keep you posted!


  1. Your friend Heather recommended I look at this little project and it looks like a good idea. I may try it myself I've also read a few of your blog posts and commented on them as well. I'll add your site to my reading list since we are on the same page. You can take a look at what my wife and I are doing on our Facebook Page at Facebook/latebloomerfarmrabbitry.

    1. Hi Seth!

      This has been pretty easy and inexpensive compared to the traditional costs of a poly tunnel or green house, and it's easily adjustable to whatever size you happen to need in length and width. I know it will work from a 'warmth for the plants' perspective. . .it should deter deer, too. It's not going to be raccoon or skunk-proof, though, so we're just hoping that they'll politely leave it alone! :)

      Your Facebook page and ideas are awesome! Exactly what we are trying to do, though with different challenges (red clay soil, lots of wild animals here in the forest, and thick stands of trees). But we'll get there. . .kudos to you for taking your 1/10 of an acre and making it work so well!

    2. Robynne I would love to connect with you on Facebook. Let me know as I would love to swap ideas and so on.

    3. That would be great, Seth. . .I've sent you a friend request!!


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