Whether you’re a master gardener known for your brimming spring gardens or just a beginner starting a few small plants indoors, you can create a custom eco-friendly greenhouse made from reclaimed materials that’s suited to your needs. These 10 DIY greenhouse ideas range from beautiful and complex freestanding greenhouses made of reclaimed windows to super-simple, practically free miniature greenhouses made of CD spindles and plastic bottles.
Plastic Bottle Greenhouse
If you can build a simple wooden frame, you can make your own DIY plastic bottle greenhouse practically for free. Gather up a bunch of 2-liter plastic soda bottles, string them together with wood rods or other supports and you can have a greenhouse like this one (top) by Blue Rock Station. Another version, the bottle house at Bumbershoot, is more decorative, but provides some inspiration for creative designs.Blue Rock Station offers a book with complete construction details.
Salvaged windows make the ideal material for an inexpensive, eco-friendly greenhouse that also looks beautiful. A tutorial onInstructables gives the step-by-step directions to build a 6′x10′ greenhouse with just a few hundred dollars worth of lumber, fasteners and latches. Look for interesting antique windows at salvage yards, antique stores and online sources like Craigslist.
Greenhouse from Salvaged Storm Doors
Storm doors are another great material for quick and relatively easy build-it-yourself greenhouses. Readily available at places like Habitat for Humanity Home Stores, storm doors are built to withstand extreme weather conditions. Their large, uniform size makes piecing them together as simple as it gets. Learn more details at Mother Earth News.
CD Spindle Propagator
Need to just start a few seeds, or protect a delicate seedling in cool weather? It almost seems like plastic CD spindle cases were made for this purpose. Most of us have at least one hiding someplace in the house. Turning it into a little propagator is as simple as cutting of the central column of the spindle and drilling a few vent holes into the top.
$50 Hoop House
While PVC pipe is not the most eco-friendly material, it can be a durable, re-usable and inexpensive choice for a hoop house. A tutorial offered by The Door Garden offers detailed photographs and information for creating one of your own. Alternately, you could use copper pipe or possibly bamboo in place of PVC.
Movable Seed Starting Greenhouse
With the weather as unpredictable as it has been this winter, it wouldn’t be too surprising to get one last unexpected snowfall just when we’ve decided that spring has come to stay. Protect any seeds that you’ve sown right into the ground with a DIY cold frame. This small portable greenhouse is also great for speeding up germination when the weather is still cool.
CD Jewel Case Mini Greenhouse
And you thought you didn’t have any uses for all those annoying plastic CD cases scattered around your office. While there are no step-by-step instructions, it wouldn’t be difficult to fit a few cases together to create this miniature modernized version of the bell jar, which simply sits over delicate seedlings to protect them from harsh winds and cool breezes.
Need something mid-sized? A lean-to greenhouse is probably the way to go. These attached greenhouses are typically around 4′x8′ and can be made of reclaimed windows, storm doors or plastic bottles. Be creative and come up with something of your own, learn how to make one from new materials at the DIY Network, or you can always order a kit online.
Salad Container Greenhouse
Plastic salad containers are perfect for seed starting. You can add seed starting mix to yogurt cups, or better yet, to biodegradable cardboard toilet paper tubes, which can be planted right into the ground. Once you’ve planted your seeds, just place them inside the salad containers, which are small and easily stackable.
Simplest of the Simple Bottle Greenhouse
Need something extremely basic that can be used for single plants? It doesn’t get much simpler than this. Just cut the bottom off a water bottle and place it right over individual plants in pots or in the ground. Once they start filling the bottle, you can uncap it to give them a little air circulation.