The attraction of cheap greenhouses is easy to understand in that they allow those of us living in temperate areas to grow fruits and vegetables that simply can’t be grown satisfactorily outdoors.
Greenhouses allow us to grow peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers and similar sensitive plants.
And even people living in warmer climates can benefit from owning a greenhouse as it extends the growing season by allowing you to start planting earlier and keep producing food right through till early winter.
But for all the benefits of greenhouses there is one “sticking point” for many people – and that is the cost of owning one. Fortunately if you’re keen to try your hand at growing food in your own greenhouse, but you’re struggling to justify the cost, there are a variety of money-saving tips to help you become the proud owner of a cheap greenhouse.
Greenhouses are big, heavy and bulky items and disposing of them can be something of a nightmare.
As a result of this some people opt to put their old wanted greenhouse on one of the various freecycling websites currently operating.
By registering with a range of these sites and then keeping your eyes peeled it’s often possible to pick one up not just a cheap greenhouse but often one for free.
Remember that the greenhouse frame is the most complex aspect of the unit so even greenhouses with missing panes of glass – or even no glass at all – shouldn’t be a problem. Standard-sized replacement panes are readily available and simple-enough to fit.
In a similar vein those people looking to get rid of an unwanted greenhouse but who either aren’t aware of freecycling or who want to raise a little money often list their greenhouses in the classified ad sections of small local newspapers.
A metal-framed greenhouse has a long lifespan so don’t be too concerned with the age – as long as it looks sturdy and in decent condition you’ll likely receive a lot of service even from an old greenhouse.
If you’re willing to put a little work another option for cheap greenhouses are the range of greenhouse kits that you contruct yourself. In these cases consider all the alternative kits to see if buying the frame and glazing seperately can save you money without significantly adding to the effort of building your own greenhouse.
Build Your Own Greenhouse
There are a number of books now that will teach you how to build your own greenhouse from scratch using basic equipment you can find in any decent DIY store.
Of course you will need to put in a little more effort to build your own cheap greenhouse rather than buying one pre-made but if you’re willing to put the work in it’s astonishing just how much money you can save by building your own greenhouse.
People who sell glass for a living – such as window manufacturers and sales rooms – somes have unwanted “offcuts” that they don’t know what to do with. A few emails or phone calls in your local area can often let you pick up unwanted pieces of glass for virtually nothing to help glaze your greenhouse.
Rigid Plastic Instead Of Glass
Another often cost-effective solution for replacing missing panes of glass – or even for building your own greenhouse from scratch – can be pieces of rigid plastic.
Plastic may well be cheaper than glass as well as being lighter, easier to handle, safer around children and easily cut to size with a craft knife. Personally I bought mine from scouring eBay for bargains and bought enough for an entire greenhouse for virtually nothing.
One final consideration are possible alternatives to a greenhouse that will be cheaper but will help you to achieve a similar goal. For example some gardening centers sell “popup” miniature greenhouses consisting of an easily-constructed frame and a clear plastic covering rather like a tent that fits over the top.
Another solution to getting your plants started early in the season is to invest in cloches or a cold frame which, whilst smaller, are easier to build. I have constructed a number of cold frames myself this year using unwanted windows I have found on freecycling sites and when combined with some timber it’s easy enough to build one in a matter of hours.