Appalachia Gardening

Greenhouse Update

How to build a greenhouse

Back in the summer, I told you about the hail storms that damaged our greenhouse. Between then and now-the plastic disintegrated into a bunch of ghostly looking pieces that flapped in the wind.

Every time I walked out to feed the chickens I tried not to look at the greenhouse-it was in such shambles that it made me feel guilty-like all our hard work was for naught.

We ordered the plastic to recover it a while back-but you know how it goes-first one thing then another came up and we never got around to fixing it-until this weekend.

Build a greenhouse at home


The Deer Hunter said we should look at having to recover the greenhouse as a learning experience-as a chance to change things we wished we’d done differently the first go around.

Pvc greenhouse


This time we bought a better quality of plastic specifically made for greenhouses. The first time-we bought standard 6ml plastic. I’m positive the new plastic isn’t hail proof either-but I do think it will hold up better under the weather.

Once the hail had damaged the first plastic-it began to give way at all the pressure points. After studying on the issue for the last few months The Deer Hunter came up with an idea-he used foam pipe insulation to cover the pipe/wood areas that came in direct contact with the plastic. The pipe insulation will also help protect our spring seedlings as it seals off some of the air gaps too.

I think we may be prouder of the greenhouse now-than when we first built it. It always feels so good to get something done that you know needs doing. And before you know it-it’ll be time to start my seedlings for next summer’s garden.

If you want to see how the greenhouse is constructed-you can click here.



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  • Reply
    December 6, 2012 at 6:40 am

    Bill-thank you for the comment! I try to start my tomatoes by at least March. I know people who start them much earlier here-but you can’t really safely put them out in the garden until at least the middle of May. I never seem to start my peppers early enough-I’m going to try for February this year.
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    of Appalachia

  • Reply
    Peggy Lambert
    December 3, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    Tipper, Your greenhouse looks great.
    I know you love it.
    It’s great you can plant your own seeds and know what you are getting.
    One year we got hot peppers and boy were they hot, hot and more hot. Was not banana pepper.
    Peggy L.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    December 3, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    PS to previous note: I am not a plastics expert, so you may want to consult with someone more familiar, but if you are using PVC pipe for your framework, it may get brittle in cold weather. Hopefully, someone who is more expert can chime in.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    December 3, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    The greenhouse looks great, Tipper. Check the plastic material for ultraviolet resistance. Most plastics don’t like sunlight very well. Most of them go to pieces eventually, but you can hope to get a plastic that will last a reasonable amount of time.

  • Reply
    B. ruth
    December 3, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    We used to have a greenhouse, made in the quonset hut style like yours…We loved it…When it got so expensive to heat, we sorta just quit…I was loving raising tomatoes, peppers, and other flowers…I was into cactus and succulents back then…Lots of fun…
    My first Tomato Magazine came in the mail today…They mostly deal in just tomatoes…More varieties than you can shake a stick at..
    Shore made me want a homegrown ripe mater…for supper.
    I love your greenhouse!..I think you and Deerhunter “handled it” purty doggone grand!
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    December 3, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    Now that’s the true Appalachian spirit; a setback is an opportunity to make improvements!

  • Reply
    December 3, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    That is very interesting. I have never tried to build one as I just never got that serious with planting seedlings. I might want to have one, so the pics were very helpful. Hummmmm! Food for thought! I will wish you good luck and happiness in the spring when the seedlings are almost ready for planting.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    December 3, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    Tipper–You need to ask Matt whether that idea to use insulation was original or if it came because he’s used the same material on railings around deer stands (to keep things quiet when you rest a gun on the rail).
    Ed, yes, tanglefoot is a wonderfully descriptive term synonymous with corn squeezin’s, liquid corn, golden moonbeam, white lightning, pearting juice, and the like. I haven’t look, but I suspect it is in the “Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English.” I’ve always thought it a particularly apt description.
    Sorry you didn’t like “Murder Down on Music Row.” I find it wonderful.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    December 3, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    It’s good to see the New Greenhouse coming along so well.
    Those hailstorms can “tear up
    Jack” even here in our mountains.
    I’m already yearning for some
    fresh homegrown maders…Ken

  • Reply
    David Templeton
    December 3, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    Your husband has done some very good construction here. The stress relief feature is impressive.
    Ed: The only Tanglefoot I know is one that was a tongue-in-cheek sponsor of Bob and Ray’s “One Fella’s Family” … brought to you by Tanglefoot, the greatest name in flypaper.

  • Reply
    December 3, 2012 at 10:26 am

    My neighbor had the same thing happen to his greenhouse using regular construction plastic sheeting. He is going to redo it with the greenhouse plastic. The foam insuation is a splendid idea!

  • Reply
    December 3, 2012 at 9:04 am

    You’re gonna love it! We pick up our greenhouse plastic at a wholesale greenhouse nursery supply and there is a world of difference between it and the stuff they sell at the hardware big stores. You must have some rockin’ hail, fall windstorms are our big bug-a-boo. Have you and the Deerhunter looked at Elliot Coleman’s book on high tunnels? Four Season – I think? He has a couple – get them from the library.

  • Reply
    December 3, 2012 at 8:51 am

    What a brilliant idea with the insulated pipe covering. Looks terrific!

  • Reply
    December 3, 2012 at 8:41 am

    Your greenhouse looks great!

  • Reply
    Mary Shipman
    December 3, 2012 at 8:15 am

    Looking good! THe winds damaged ours. I am going to passalong the idea aboutthe pipe inuslation on the pressure areas. Good thoughts and good growing next season.

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, Ph.D.
    December 3, 2012 at 8:09 am

    Tipper: This reminds me of our efforts to keep the birds out of our blueberry patch! We (Jim) built the JAMES WIKE FORT with PVC pipes and bird netting! Now in the cool of the June mornings, when the fog is still hanging low, I slip out there in my pajamas and pick plenty of blueberries before those bird wake up! They don’t have a chance of spoiling my crop! NOW THAR!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    December 3, 2012 at 8:08 am

    Jim-Maybe I am out of touch but I don’t know what tanglefoot is. If it is some kind of wine, I don’t drink. I tried to listen to Alan Jackson and George Strait but cut it short. Maybe I need to drink a couple before I start the music.
    Arthur Lee “Red” Smiley Jr. was my grandmother Beuna Cunningham’s 1st cousin. My 1st cousin 2X removed. Maybe if he hadn’t gotten himself wound in WW2 and had to spend years in and out of hospital, he could have made it Nashville and become “Somebody.” If that had happened, would I still claim as kin? I don’t know.
    Tipper-It’s the sun that got your old plastic not the hail. The sun makes it brittle and the hail beats it down. The new stuff probably has UV protection that will extend its life. Good plastic survives hail pretty well because it has “give.” Good Luck in your new “Diggs”

  • Reply
    Karen Larsen
    December 3, 2012 at 7:51 am

    That is a fantastic greenhouse!! And great ideas with the foam covers for the pipes. Often when something goes bad it makes way for a better idea to come along!

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    December 3, 2012 at 7:36 am

    wise fellow that Deer Hunter — great looking greenhouse

  • Reply
    December 3, 2012 at 7:30 am

    This is surely great news, and I do hope you will keep us updated on the seedlings in the Spring. The only thing better is when those gardening catalogs start arriving in the mail on a cold, snowy day.

  • Reply
    Bill Dotson
    December 3, 2012 at 7:17 am

    Tipper when do you start your seedlings, of course you can start yours before me because it stays colder here in Aberdeen Ohio, maybe partly because we are just 3 miles from the Ohio river that may make it stay colder longer.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    December 3, 2012 at 6:48 am

    Way cool! One of the things I love about the Deer Hunter is the way he thinks about things and waits for the idea to come into view before he begins the project.
    You see new plastic, I see tomatoes!!!

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