How to Build a Greenhouse | Intro Guide to Building a Small Greenhouse | Bootstrap Farmer

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A Beginners How-To Guide for Building the Most Cost and Time Efficient Year Round Greenhouse with 600 Square Feet of Space!

Have you ever been intimidated by the complexity and cost of building a greenhouse?  I used to be.  I first started researching greenhouse designs and costs to begin a hydroponic farm-to-table business.  I had no idea what I was doing, so I had no clue where to start.  I didn’t have any experience building or working in a greenhouse and had very little money to spend.

I spent many months researching greenhouse designs that could fit my budget.  Most of information available included large structures with electric ventilation, gas heating and high priced monitoring systems.  Knowing that I would have to start my farm with a very limited budget, I became really discouraged.

It wasn’t until I read The Winter Harvest Handbook by Eliot Coleman that I finally took a deep sign of relief.  In his book Eliot Coleman talked about building a greenhouse using a ‘Quick Hoop’ design where you can cover a large area at a fraction of the cost.

After a few more months of further research and planning, I came up with a design that fit my hydroponic approach.  Since that time, I have built the greenhouse myself and now present to you the final version.  In my opinion, this is the most time and cost efficient greenhouse which supports these crucial components:

  • Year round growing
  • Access from front, back and sides
  • Adjustable side ventilation and access
  • Withstands hurricane strength winds
  • 1 person can construct 90% of it alone

I could not afford to hire anyone to help me.  I had to keep in mind that my wife, who had a full-time job, was the only one that could give me hand in a pinch.  I am still relatively young and spry, so I took this as a challenge to see how fast I could actually get it done.

The greenhouse is built one piece at a time, so there is no heavy lifting.  Most of the work is merely bending and cutting posts, then drilling it all into place.  The only part where I needed a hand was with the polyethylene plastic cover.  We used a single 100 ft long piece of plastic so even just a bit of wind can make the application too risky to do alone.

If you are interested in reading further, please keep a few things in mind:

  • We all have different end goals, so feel free to adjust the design of the greenhouse to what works best for you
  • If you plan on planting into the soil, you will want to prep the ground BEFORE you build the greenhouse structure
  • The purpose of this design was to maximize production of the simplest and lowest cost hydroponics method, the Kratky Method
  • If you have little or no experience with greenhouses or hydroponics, and want to take the first step in starting a hydroponics business, this is the greenhouse for you

More Hoop House & High Tunnel Building Guides:

Prequel to Starting a Build - Ground Posts - Bending Hoops - Hip & Base Boards, Ridge Poles & Purlins - Endwall Construction - Lock Channel, Spring Wire - Greenhouse Plastic Attachment - Inflating Double Layer Poly



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