DIY Backyard Greenhouse – Affordable & Easy – with Pics
Affordable & Easy to build (4m x 4m x 2.25m) Backyard Greenhouse
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Are you part of the 77% of consumers STILL queing up in Supermarkets buying Genetically Modified Fruit and Vegetables? In a recent study done, 23% of the world’s population are either A) moving towards self-sustainable and eco-friendly living or B) due to Geo-location, Political state etc; forced to Cultivate their own constant Healthy supply of Organically grown produce….right in their backyard!
Yes, you’re right. The first questions coming to mind is ‘Am I capable of constructing, let alone Cultivate my own Greenhouse?’ or ‘Do I have access to all the materials and knowledge to become an Urban farmer?’ The answers is YES, YES and again YES!
In the following article/tutorial, I’ll be running you through each step of this very affordable and easy to self-construct 4m x 4m x 2.25m ‘Backyard Greenhouse’:
Following each step is vital, but feel free to replace parts or materials as you wish.
- Cable Ties
- 10 x 4meter lengths of 20mm Condiut PVC Pipe
- 32 meter of 40mm Condiut PVD Pipe
- 4 x 90degree elbows for 40mm PVC (to act as corners)
- 5 x 2.5meter lengths of 19mm Steel Condiut Pipe
- 5 x 20mm PVC T-joints
- 67 square meter IR Diffused Greenhouse Plastic (available from www.hydroherbafrica.co.za @ R19/m)
- PVC Glue
- Tape Measure
- Handheld 18v Driver Drill
- Solar Panel/s (see pics)
- Twinflex Electrical Cable
- 5meter Garden Hose
- Old Tent Pins/Pegs
- Garden Sprinkler Attachments (see Pics)
- Greenhouse Tape (a MUST, available from www.hydroherbafrica.co.za)
- 4m x 8m Shade Netting (or alike, as long as its durable)
- 5 x 12v PC Fans (see pics)
OPTIONAL ITEMS NEEDED:
- Solar Charge Controller
- Deep Cycle Solar Battery
LET’S GET STARTED
Now that we have most tools needed covered, let’s get to it. First thing you’ll need to do, is clear out a 4 meter x 4 meter open piece of lawn (or rooftop). We’ll be building our Greenhouse straight on lawn.
Make sure the location of your Greenhouse is well-located in terms of Sunlight. You don’t want any big trees obstructing your light. Any reduction of sunlight can always be achieved via Shade cloth racks/stilts afterwards.
Next, you’ll be cutting the 40mm PVC Conduit Pipes into 8 meter lengths. This will, together with the 90 degree PVC Corners/Elbows, make up your bottom square frame, see below.
To effectively secure the frame, add PVC Glue to the inside of the 90 degree elbows. This way, your frame will maintain intact and add extra support. The next step involves some drilling of holes for the PVC Pipes to sink into. We used the biggest drill bit (9mm) we could find, but any will do. Next step is to measure 0.8m (80cm) markers starting from one side, marking each spot, to achieve the sinkholes that will hold the 20mm ‘rib cage’ pvc beams. See pic below:
ALWAYS DOUBLE CHECK YOUR MEASUREMENTS
You’ll have 5 sinkholes for 4meter, at 80cm intervals apart. We took 19mm short steel pins (30cm in length) to hammer into each hole, see above; to fit the 20mm beams. Be carefull not to make the holes bigger than 20mm, we want the PVC beams to fit rather tightly into each hole.
Once you have done both opposite sides, and hammered in the steel rods into each hole, stick each 4 meter PVC Conduit Beam over its own steel pin/rod (sinked into these holes).
Next step would be, to find the center between these two opposite sides and mark it. Next step, hammer in each 3 meter 19mm Steel Conduit Pipes as follows, 80 cm apart:
Once the steel pipes are hammered in firmly, at the precise centre 80cm apart, add each of the T-links on the steel pipe’s top, as pictured above. Then, link each 4meter PVC ‘rib’ pipe to the T-links. You should essentially have your ‘hooped’ shape tunnel revealed.
Use cable tie downs to secure each T-link by strapping an ‘X’ over and under the T-link. We ran an extra Steel Pipe along the top, to add more support. Especially in windy/gusty regions.
Next, we started to add support beams on the sides, where the door and back ‘wall’ is. Feel free to look for weak/wobbly parts to add a support beam to. See below:
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
The main goal is to get the ‘Hoop’ shape from ALL 5 beams as stirdy/strong as possible.
Next step involves an extra helping hand, as you can start wrapping the top canopy sheet. I got my local supplier and good friends at www.hydroherbafrica.com to pre-cut my Greenhouse IR Diffused plastic sheeting into 3 sections: 1 times 7.5 m x 5 m (roof) + 2 times 3 m x 4.5m (sides).
In the meanwhile, just lay the excess plastic outwards and on bricks/weights, we’ll come back to the floor and corner seals in a bit. This is how our sheet was tucked whilst we continued:
The next step you’ll need a Scissor, C-clamps (made from PVC Conduit with a wall slit) and Greenhouse Tape. Carefully fold the excess Plastic inwards and stick it against the inner-upper canopy, then securing it with a C-clamp over the fold as shown below.
If you’re happy with the tension and right amount of pull from both sides, then its time to move onto the side sheets.
For the side sheets, we used 2 times 4.5 m x 3 m lengths. Firstly, find the center using a measuring tape and mark it, top and bottom. Using 2 C-clamps as explained in the previous step, align the center of the sheet (top) with your center beam and secure it. Just to hold the sheet in place whilst we do some fine trimming, ridding the excess sheet strips. Do the same for door-side as well as backside.
USING THE SUN, AS AN OPTION
As you’ll see, we used 2 x 12v PC fans, inline (same direction flow) directly connected to our small Solar panel. This way, the fans only blow when there’s Sunlight….which in essence is HEAT! This is where, if you have a Solar Charge Controller, you can control it via a GUI Device shown below. (skip Solar Charge Controller section if you don’t have a unit on hand). It will still work when directly connected to the Solar Panel. Spend a little time making sure the electrical points/connections are water-proof as you’ll have high RH (Relative Humidity) inside your Greenhouse.
Examples of Solar Charge Controllers:
The door frame is really up to your own creative/technical ‘know-how’. As long as you remember, you need an Inner Door frame as well as a Outer Door frame. The door will have its own Plastic wrap, apart from the front-side panel. Pictured below:
From here on onward, we’ll start laying our floor. Just make sure you cover corner-to-corner. Note how we lay the excess inwards and flat with the sail over the excess/over-laps. This will prevent any unwanted weeds or grass growing throwing your floor.
Once your netted flooring is layed out, use Tent Pegs/Pins to secure it to the ground. Remember, you’ll be visiting your Greenhouse at least 3 times a day and creating a toddler riddled wrinkly floor is most definitely undesired.
ECO-TUNNEL IN 3,2,1!
From here on, you have free reign to kit out your Greenhouse with an Internal fan, Irrigation Sprinklers fed via Garden Hose or Catchment reservoir. The 3 extra 12volt PC fans were added onto the Centre beam facing down, equally placed. Plants need air, especially moving air. Although we have an Extraction fan system blowing 300 Cubic feet of Air per Hour, we still need internal circulation. These fans can be connected to a battery, a Solar Panel or fed via Wall socket 110/220v.
The next installment of DIY Greenhouse Tuts, I’ll be explaing/showing you how to do ‘Vertical Growing’ to score even MORE floor space inside your Greenhouse.
I have purposely left out some minor detail here and there, but the Technically minded will be able to fill in the small steps where needed. For those stuck in a rut, please don’t hesitate to comment/mail or discuss your hick-ups with me or other fellow Backyard Growers.
Till next time….HAPPY GROWING!
Written by Willem Els for
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