Greenhouse Gardening on a Budget


If you think a greenhouse has to cost thousands of dollars, think again. Yes, traditionally they’ve been something that many people simply couldn’t afford. But as more and more people realize the benefits of growing their own food, the number of creative ways to create your own greenhouse on the cheap continues to rise. Even if you live in a small apartment, you can create a mini greenhouse that fits perfectly fine on a well-lit counter top or on a patio.

So if you enjoy gardening or simply have learned to rely on producing your own fruits, veggies and herbs to put on the table – don’t think that a greenhouse is out of reach. As ShedsFirst explains, there are many benefits to greenhouse gardening and there’s no reason you can’t get in on it too.

Use one of the following ideas or get creative and use them as starting points to come up with your own version (Each project’s link is included at the end of this post). You can create a mini greenhouse for as cheap as $20 or so or even for free, depending on what you already have on hand.

Super simple, small counter top greenhouse

Grab a hot glue gun, a few pieces of wood and some thick vinyl to create a small greenhouse that can fit on the patio or even a counter top that gets sunlight. It shouldn’t cost more than $20 to get the materials required and take no more than an hour tops to complete. This is perfect for creating your own little greenhouse for fresh herbs. Get the instructions at Instructables. (1)

No building or construction required greenhouse

Bob Nixon shared an experiment on his blog that’s a bit different. There are tons of ideas out there on how to use clear plastic storage bins as a mini-greenhouse. But Bob did things a little differently. Instead of using the bin to place small sprouting plants in, he cut off the bottom and placed it over his lettuce plants to see if it would prolong their growing. Check out his blog for the simple instructions and read about his results. (2)

Too cute and easy storm window greenhouse

This little greenhouse is too cute. You could even get creative and paint it with designs or colors to your liking. Using nothing but a few old storm windows, a few pieces of wood and hinges, it certainly gets the job done. See how Anne does it on HomeTalk. (3)

Putting old CD cases to good use

Have a box of old CD’s you’ll never use again? Don’t let those cases go to waste. With a little patience and a lot of gluing, you can create a chic little greenhouse that’s sure to garner attention from visitors. Megacrafty has all the details with an in-depth tutorial to walk you through it with plenty of pictures showing you how it’s done each step of the way (4)

Each of these DIY greenhouse ideas can work. But before you decide how you’re going to create yours and where you’re going to place it, you should know exactly what you’re hoping to get out of it. Are you looking for a way to simply extend harvesting by a couple of weeks? Or are you trying to create a greenhouse that you can garden with year-round?

Either way, Colorado State University has a very helpful guide that will help you get the most out of your greenhouse.

(1) Counter top greenhouse on Instructables:

(2) Bob’s clear storage bin idea:

(3) Storm window greenhouse:

(4) CD case greenhouse:

Veronica Davis