Showing posts with label Greenhouses. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Greenhouses. Show all posts

Home-made, Big, Low Cost Glass Greenhouse from Free Recuperated Windows Part 2

The very first step in constructing the greenhouse was to decide on the size for it. We'd earmarked a vegetable plot where it was to go and as it had a hedge along one edge and a rose border on another, both of which we wanted to retain a practical size of 5m long by 3m wide was decided. This gave adequate space for access with ladders or steps during construction.

Although it is a large sized greenhouse and in itself quite an imposing feature, it actually fits very well into its surrounding landscape. Being surrounded by greenery as it is now, obviates the need for shade cloths, which in the early days were necessary to prevent the scorching of leaves in the very hot, clear days of Summer. We live near the sea and at times the light here can be very intense.

The roof covering was to be of 200 micron polythene UV stabilised (polytunnel material) and this could be purchased by the metre and was 7.5 metres wide. As the roof was to be gabled we bought a 4m length, the polythene width was more than enough to cover the greenhouse length.

For the south 3m wide end I had recuperated some French windows and these and the entrance door on the North end set the wall height of the greenhouse.
Having now decided the overall dimensions of the greenhouse the preparatory work could begin.

All of the windows I'd collected were casement windows, that is, windows that open on hinges attached to one vertical side of the frame. Most of them were paired and had a weather strip where the two windows met in the middle.

Along the bottom edge of all these windows was a weatherboard to deflect rain running off the window onto the window sill. As the casement window fits into a frame this moulding is not flush with the bottom but is attached about 10-20mm from the bottom edge

To bring the windows' heights to that of the French windows I decided to support them on walls made from pallet wood. Now that I knew the wall lengths I could sort the windows to fit, number them and mark their position on a plan.

Before making the walls, the bottom of each window projecting beyond the weatherboard was sawn off providing a wider face to rest on the wall.

The wall panels were made from pallet wood planks nailed to a rectangular frame. Each frame was again of pallet wood but I selected planks for this from more robust pallets (approx 100mm x 22mm, 4" x 1"). These planks were screwed together to form the frames and the pallet wood planks were nailed to what was to become the outside face thus forming a box.

There were seven 75mm (3") square wooden posts, each bolted to a galvanised steel stake driven into the ground (one at each corner, one midway along the longest sides and one to form the doorway). A line running from post to post marked the perimeter to which the wall panels needed to abut.

In addition, I made T (Tee) shaped stakes from 22mm thick pallet wood, which were to be driven into the ground on the inside of the greenhouse. These would provide a solid support for the wall panels.

All the above preparation meant that when we finally came to construct the greenhouse it went together as a kit. The roof trusses too we pre-fabricated in the workshop but for clarity I'll deal with these in a separate post.

If you are thinking of building a glass greenhouse and would like to know of some of the extra plants, in particular tropical spices you will be able to grow, then sit back and take a look at this film:

Thanks for dropping by and please feel free to share this article, comment, ask questions and if you'd like to be assured of getting the next post, then sign up to follow this blog.

All the best, Andy

© Andy Colley 2014

Home-made, Big, Low Cost Glass Greenhouse from Free Recuperated Windows Part 1

Over the next few weeks I will be involved in several projects using recuperated glass windows and doors and I thought I'd start by taking a retrospective look at the greenhouse I designed and made 5 years ago. 

Several of you have commented on this greenhouse, which has been shown in various films and blogs. Sadly, when I designed and made it, we did not have a digital camera with which to take detailed step-by-step photographs. Therefore, I am taking this opportunity, whilst it is being restocked with Spring plantings, to take some shots of the fabric of the interior for a detailed explanation of the design and construction. This will form Part Two of this post. In the next few weeks, I will also be giving a hand to my neighbours, who are in the process of constructing a large lean-to, verandah-type greenhouse, so there will be another design, both in film and blog form to share. 

What, where and how to get supplies

Unfortunately for the good of the Planet and paradoxically fortunately for us, there seems to be an unlimited supply of virtually brand new, as well as interesting and beautiful old,  glass doors and windows. To judge by the veritable mountains outside joiners and carpenters businesses en route to landfill, many people change their windows as often as others might paint the frames. Over the years we have collected dozens of examples, including, in the UK some very pretty leaded lights. These latter turn up in architectural salvage yards or 'junk' shops, with the very best examples finding their way into auction rooms and antique shops. In a greenhouse or house these can be used to great effect. 

For a supply of general glass windows and doors though, there is nothing like your local joiner's shop or doubleglazers. I made contact with the owner of our local one, having seen a huge pile of useable material in his yard and he was delighted we wanted to take it away and make use of it. We also sent him photographs and film links for everything we made and when we were looking for a front door for the house, he even carefully got us a door with the doorframe and keys intact! As a matter of fact over the past five years, from just this one source, we and our friends have glazed two entire houses (one of them completely doubleglazed) and built several greenhouses.

Stand alone greenhouse - the basic design criteria

The idea for the greenhouse was to have something that was both decorative and practical. In particular as it was going to form the centrepiece for the flower garden. We wanted plenty of height both for aesthetics and because we intended to grow many climbing vegetables and flowers and also to incorporate our solar shower.

We had been collecting suitable materials for some time and in all we used 24 windows/French windows of various ages and designs but which overall seemed to fit pleasingly together. The sides and the back were to be made of windows set on pallet wood walls, similar in design to those of the hen house. On each side there was also to be guttering for the collection and harvest of rainwater.

The front was designed to incorporate a matching set of old French windows and glazed panels with the addition of a panel of leaded lights incorporated into the gable end. The French windows and the door on the rear elevation were both of the same height and these together set the height for the greenhouse.

It's all in the planning

There are two ways to go when designing a glass greenhouse, you can either plan it around available materials or you can plan it first and then search for the windows to fit. We actually were lucky, in that five years ago PVC mania hit our part of the coast and we had a plethora of great windows to choose from. In effect, the whole design was built up around the French windows, matching panels and leaded light, which were really elegant when placed together. The planning of the design was in fact the most difficult part of the whole operation, in that the location of the windows had to match the desired length for each side. Furthermore, any difference in window height had to be accounted for in the construction of the pallet wood walls to ensure that the overall height was respected. In conclusion though, we were left with a unique bespoke greenhouse which would have cost us several thousands of Euros.

Here is the film we made about this greenhouse, showing both exterior and interior views and giving some initial pointers to the design. See you in Part Two

Thanks for dropping by and please feel free to share this article, comment, ask questions and if you'd like to be assured of getting the next post, then sign up to follow this blog.

All the best, Andy

© Andy Colley 2014

Home-made low cost pallet wood greenhouse, viable, safe, year-round food production.

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..

Home-made low cost pallet wood greenhouse - $5
Good companions, Courgettes and Tagetes erecta

its tenants..

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 harvested it 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.

Home-made low cost old window glass and pallet wood greenhouse

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.Home-made low cost old window glass pallet wood greenhouse

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.
Start small - work up!

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.

Home-made low cost pallet wood greenhouse $5 greenhouse

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

Home-made low cost pallet wood greenhouse - 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

Home-made low cost pallet wood greenhouseThe first thing I always consider, in a design of this sort is to create a way of getting a uniformity of construction. This is not just for aesthetics but because it makes everything easier when you come to fit the project together! To this end I set up a simple jig - out of pallet wood of course!

Make a cheap but robust pallet wood greenhouse

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.

Pallet wood greenhouse design and construction

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.

Cheers, Andy
© Andy Colley 2014

Including more greenhouse projects)