After we finalized plans for the new HeartBeet Farms Garden, we realized that we no longer have all our tools, seeding supplies, and equipment to get started with planting seeds. We donated all of the seed trays, potting soil, seeds, amendments and even the greenhouse we purchased to the Centereach Farm. We started searching online for a small greenhouse to purchase. We found several options. However, many of the delivery timeframes would be very delayed and would not allow us to start planting right away. So, we called in some troops – my son Tyler and his girlfriend Annabella – to help construct a DIY Greenhouse!
Equipment Needed for DIY Greenhouse
We had to think about what we had in our house to construct this DIY Greenhouse and what we needed to purchase. We had a 10×10 tent in the garage. We figured that the tent frame could be the base structure of the greenhouse. Now we needed to find something in Home Depot or Lowe’s that could act as the plastic. It needed to be thick enough to withstand wind and rain and create warmth. It also needed to be large enough to cover the 10×10 area. Home Depot and Lowe’s did not have any clear tarps. However, they had extra heavy, large plastic painter’s clothes – those would work perfectly. We also purchased some clear gorilla tape and some plastic white poles to help create a better ceiling for rain runoff.
Constructing the Greenhouse
Tyler got to work. We put up the tent structure, keeping it low so he could work on the roof. Tyler constructed a roof with the white plastic poles that would help the rainwater to run off the roof. We did not want water pooling in the plastic. That would cause the plastic to break and destroy the plants inside.
Tyler and Annabella then worked on adding the plastic drop cloths to the roof and sides of the greenhouse. Tyler also added a double layer of cloths to help hold the heat inside the greenhouse. He also created a double layer entrance, as you can see in the video. You have to walk through a wall of plastic to enter the actual greenhouse. I liked his thinking!
It’s not perfect, but it definitely does the job! We needed a place that was well lit for the seeds to germinate and that could generate heat! It is a temporary structure but I am personally proud of the efforts of our team to use their skills and pull together to create something quickly.
Recycled Pots and Planters
We had an opportunity to purchase seed trays from some of the seed companies such as Johnny’s Seeds. These supplies would need to be purchased online and delivered. And delivery timeframes are a bit delayed for many places right now. We could also take a trip out East and purchase seed trays from one of the agricultural distributors. We had options that required time, money, and some travel. Given everything going on in the world, we opted out of those options for the time being.
For this season, we wanted to be as economical as possible. And time was also of the essence so having some of these supplies quickly would be very beneficial. We looked in our plastics and cardboard recycling bins and realized that there was a wealth of planters right there. So we began collecting and not recycling certain containers including:
- Milk Containers
- Plastic bottles of any size
- Coconut Water containers
- Salad & Spinach containers
- Tomato Containers
- Soup containers
- Fruit containers
We washed the containers thoroughly and put holes in the bottom for drainage. Some containers already had holes which worked out great! And now we had our recycled planters ready to go.
Purchasing Seeds & Soil
This season we purchased many of our seeds from Hudson Valley Seed Company. In past years, we purchased seeds from Johnny’s Seeds, Eden Brothers, Fedco, and Seed Savers Exchange. To ensure easy delivery during these times, we just purchased from one seed company for now. Hudson Valley carried most of the types of seeds we wanted this season. However, all of these companies are excellent seed companies. When selecting seed companies it is also beneficial to use companies that are located closer to where you are growing. This helps ensure that many of the varieties will thrive in your part of the country.
When it comes to soil, we use organic potting soil to prepare our seeds. We specifically use McEnroe’s Organic Potting Soil. McEnroe, a New York-based organic farm, produces some of the highest quality compost and potting soil. It is not inexpensive, but it is worth the price. And your seeds will be very happy!
We will keep you posted on how our DIY Greenhouse and recycled pots and planters perform this season. In these uncertain times, using your creativity and recycling is even more important!