Hobby Greenhouses

Last week we kicked off our fall building series with looking at some tips for creating new flower and garden beds in the fall so they can be enjoyed in the next season.  Continuing on with our fall building series, I thought we would take a look a structure we’re quite familiar with here at Bob’s – greenhouses! You don’t need 25 acres under roof like us to enjoy the benefits of a greenhouse, and you’ll be surprised how simple hobby greenhouses can be.  This week we’ll take a look at three different levels of building your own greenhouse.

The Cattle Panel Greenhouse (Budget)


Perhaps the most cost-effective greenhouse that can be built quickly is the cattle panel greenhouse.  Utilizing portable cattle pen panels for the structure, these little greenhouses make a great temporary and portable solution.  However, I have seen some people even expand on the cattle panel design by adding end walls and even heating systems for winter. While they are cheap and easy to build that does come at the cost of durability.  They generally only hold up well for one or two growing seasons. Also, if you don’t build them properly, ventilation can be a problem on hot days, but they are a viable option in a pinch.

Small Greenhouse Kits (Mid-Range)


Moving up a bit in cost, there are a number of kit greenhouses online and at stores like Harbor Freight that can cost as little as $400 for a small, 6 x 8 greenhouse with polycarbonate panels.  Larger kits can get into the few thousand dollar range. There are kits for stand alone greenhouses and also lean-to style greenhouses that are perfect for south-facing walls. These can even be used as small, semi-outdoor living areas.

Home Conservatories (Big Bucks!)


At the top range of home greenhouses, we have full-on home conservatories.  These are usually custom-built to fit with the design of the house, have more expensive environmental control systems, and some are large enough to feature indoor hot tubs or pools!  A home conservatory is perfect for the serious home gardener.

This year’s poinsettia crop getting its start at the “Field House”.

This year’s poinsettia crop getting its start at the “Field House”.

In closing, a backyard greenhouse doesn’t have to be fancy to be functional.  Plants don’t really care about style … well, I guess flowers like to show off….  Anyhow, you don’t have to break the bank to build a hobby greenhouse that can extend your growing season.  In fact, that’s how Bob’s got it’s start. One of our facilities, the Field House, got its name because it was the greenhouse in the field behind Bob’s house.  That original greenhouse is long gone replaced by a state-of-the-art greenhouse with heated floors and automated watering systems. You never know what a small greenhouse can grow into.