We are at the beginning of spring planting season in Central Texas, but we’re still getting cold nights. You can build a small greenhouse over your tender new plants to protect them. This method would also be helpful for protecting potted plants during the freezes with some heat source. The way we have built ours, it is easily removable for warm sunny Texas days that come between the cold spurts.
This greenhouse was built to fit the 4′ x 4′ raised bed garden we carry at Zinger Hardware, but the general concept could be adapted to larger raised bed gardens by adding multiple arches. Ours was built with heavy duty hook & loop fasteners along the side to allow for easy access and watering. We also weighted the bottom of the access flap with a PVC pipe.
You will need:
- 1/2″ PVC pipe – enough to create 2 arches over your garden (our arch pieces were 128″ to create an arch about 4′ tall), 2 crossmembers (ours were 4′), and 3 braces over the arches (ours were 4′).
- 1″ PVC pipe to create a hole for 1/2″ PVC to slide into (optional – pipe straps will work without the 1″ PVC as well)
- PVC cutter or saw
- 8 Galvanized Pipe Straps and screws
- Clear plastic sheeting thick enough to be durable in Texas wind and weather
- 1″ Self Drilling Screws (at least 10)
- 1/2″ Self Drilling Screws (varies – these are used to attach plastic to the PVC)
- Utility knife
- Heavy Duty Tape (we like Scotch Heavy Duty Transparent Duct Tape)
- Power Drill
- Heavy Duty Hook and Loop Fasteners and a PVC pipe to weight the access flap (optional)
- Begin by cutting the 1″ PVC into 4 – 5″ sections (optional, see not above). Attach each of these to the corners of your garden bed using the galvanized pipe straps and screws. These will be your pockets in which to insert the PVC pipes to create the arches for your greenhouse.
- Cut 2 pieces of your 1/2″ PVC pipe to create the arch of the greenhouse. You may wish to insert one end into the “pocket” and then arch it to your desired height and cut it. Once you have determined the height for one, use it as a pattern to cut the second arch. Insert both ends of arches into the pockets.
- Attach braces to the arches: one at the top and two halfway down either side. Use the 1″ self drilling screws to attach the PVC together.
- Attach cross members to connect the ends of one of the arches so the cross member rests on the top of the raised bed. Use the 1″ self-drilling screws.
- When all PVC is attached together, your arch should be stable and hold its form. Lift entire fixture from the pockets and we will move on to attaching the plastic.
- Place one ends on plastic sheeting and cut a piece for the sides that is at least 3-4″ wider than the arch.
- Starting at one end, fold/roll plastic and attached to PVC with 1/2″ self-drilling screw. Continue around the entire arch. You may seal the seam with clear tape if you wish.
- Repeat steps 6 & 7 for the other side.
- Stand your greenhouse up on its legs. Both sides of your arch should be covered with plastic. We will now begin attaching the plastic on the top.
- Drape plastic sheeting over the top of the arch and trim to fit, leaving at least 3″ on either side to attach to the greenhouse.
- In the same manner as before, roll and fold edges and attach plastic to arches with 1/2″ self drilling screws. Continue all along one side of the arch.
- Repeat rolling, folding, and attaching the plastic to the other side. If desired finish one side of the arch with hook & loop fasteners to allow for easy access and weight the plastic with a PVC pipe section.
- Seal edges with heavy duty tape.