The following article goes into detail on materials, uses, modifications and upgrades to suit your needs, budget and woodworking experience.
The 5 Euro/Dollar/Pound Greenhouse...
its organic produce..
Good companions, Courgettes and Tagetes erecta
We use our organic poultry to weed a control pests in the greenhouses. Depending on the scale of the job we alternate between the chickens and the quail. Above, Vladamir, Diavolo and Co., pretending not to notice that the quail have a big heap of compost to play in. At the end of the courgette season the quail move in to clean up the woodlice from the rotted compost so that we can plant the next lot of vegetables.
and its next lot of produce..
In line with tradition, we planted our garlic on the shortest day and will harvest it (hopefully) on the longest.
Build a greenhouse to suit your budget
Anybody with the ability to assemble flat pack furniture can get to grips with this design in its cheapest form.
We designed three models of greenhouse, which were made on the same principles of construction. The most expensive (left), made from recycled glass windows and pallet wood, will cost more if you purchase the leaded light and wooden posts. Our cost was 50 Euros but I estimate it would cost around 100 Euros if you needed to purchase the above items.
With water shortages, uncertain weather and continuing fallout from Fukushima, you can provide your family with year round vegetables, fruit, herbs and flowers. The 7 Euro Greenhouse incorporates an old glass window and has purchased polythene on all sides. In Summer, its gable ends and door panels can be swapped for wire mesh, to allow for ventilation.
The glass greenhouse has walls made of recuperated windows, is more robust and remains warmer longer, once heated by the sun. With the addition of fleece covers, we can grow more tender vegetables throughout the year. In addition we can grow medicinals and tropicals. For more information see link at end of this article.
Our first design - the 5 Euro Greenhouse is still up and running after 4 years and a couple of mini hurricanes as well as deep snow.
Materials - Pallets
For the sides and door: I used 6 of the pallet wood shelving frames (illustrated below), which if you can't get you can make from 5 standard pallets (120cm x 80cm), this would mean 3 sections each side rather than 2 in my design.
For the roof trusses: 4 standard pallets
For the bottom rails to allow raised beds: 1.5 standard pallets
To make the jig for the trusses: 2 standard pallets
The greenhouse walls were made using the vertical uprights taken from a set of pallet shelving which originally had served to hold pot plants. They were 80cm wide and 170cm tall. I was able to recuperate some wire fencing from our local dump and cut it to fit these rectangular frames. I have since recuperated several of these shelving systems so they seem to be a standard throw-away pallet item. If however, you can not get hold of them just use your stock of pallet wood to create something similar. I used four of these frames (shown opposite) for the side walls and two more for the door and end wall.
Mass Production: Home-made pallet jig
To fabricate the 5 identical roof trusses needed for this design, I constructed a jig from two pallets joined together to create a work-surface of roughly 2.40m in length. Wooden blocks were then screwed at key positions so as to act as 'stops' when the truss components were laid onto the pallet.
Something perhaps not so obvious in the Youtube film, is that my design incorporates a vertical piece of wood at the lower end of each truss. This enables each truss to be fitted to the inside face of the greenhouse wall. Once screwed into place, this addition prevents the tendency for the truss to move outwards. I felt that this vertical piece of wood, pushing against the inside face of the greenhouse, would be more secure than just relying on a screw or nail to hold the truss in place.
Once attached to the opposite walls the trusses were joined to each other at the side of the roof apex using pallet wood planks. This way of linking each truss means the whole roof structure becomes stiffer and provides a 'smooth' surface for the polythene roofing at the apex. See photo above.
To upgrade the 5 Euro Greenhouse, purchase some horticultural grade 200 micron polythene for around 30 Euros.
Our Little Helpers
And now if you'd like to, sit back and watch the film:
RELATED PROJECTS with live links to our detailed articles
If you're feeling more ambitious and have a good local source of discarded glass windows, then you might think of building our Glass Window Greenhouse
Our Pallet Wood Chicken Coop - Hen House design and construction. This is also a prototype Tiny House and can be made in kit form and transported easily to where needed.
Our Dry Toilet System Save water, save money and make yourself some great compost!
All the best and thanks for dropping by. Please feel free to share this article, comment and/or ask for further information.
© Andy Colley 2014
Including more greenhouse projects)