I’ve always wanted a greenhouse to pot up plants and start seedlings in the spring and fall, and after catching a video by the Optimistic Garden, Steve Farley, who built one out of wood pallets I knew what I had to do.
The greenhouse is 2 pallets wide by 3 pallets long, or about 8 ft x 12 ft. The pallets are wrapped in 4 mil plastic from Harbor Freight Tools to provide protection from drafts and are capped with 5/4×6 deck boards, which provides a shelf and a place for me to attach the PVC arches. The outer walls were covered in plywood and then I added boards from a neighbor’s fence that was torn down as siding.
On the front and rear walls of the greenhouse I used pallet wood applied in a vertical direction because I had a lot of pallets left over (and still do!).
I used PVC electrical conduit for the because they have a built in connector on one end and offer a bit of UV protection that the regular white PVC does not.
The conduit is 10 ft long, so for each arch I need one full piece and one cut to 32 in. A 1-1/8″ hole is drilled into the decking and the conduit is inserted within. To secure each pipe I drilled horizontally through the decking and then at an angle from the top.
The plastic is not greenhouse plastic, but rather the same Harbor Freight plastic sheeting used to wrap the pallets. It likely will have to be replaced every few years, but we’ll see just how bad it gets. I’ve used it to wrap my chicken coops in the winter and its quality has degraded very little if at all.
It’s also a heckuva lot cheaper to replace if it gets damaged than greenhouse plastic would be. A greenhouse of this size would cost several hundreds dollars to cover in UV protected plastic; a roll of plastic from Harbor Freight costs $26.
I attached the plastic to the end walls using DIY clips made from 3/4 in. thinwall PVC pipe. A small section is cut out of a 4 in. piece, the sides are sanded to prevent ripping of the plastic, and then snapped over the plastic and conduit, holding it firmly in place.
Once the plastic was on, I then built a workbench inside out of pallet boards, and also built a drying table for root crops like garlic, onions, and potatoes out of 1/4 in. hardware cloth. The workbench is 8 ft. long, the drying rack, 6 ft.
Last I built a door out of 2x4s ripped to 2×2. It’s covered in screen for the time being, but plastic-wrapped inserts will be constructed for the fall and winter.
This was a longer than expected build, but a relatively easy one, and relatively cheap. All of the pallets were obtained for free, the siding was plywood sheets I already had on hand as well as fencing material from a discarded fence and extra pallet wood. I also had a window that I had found by the roadside.
A few pieces of lumber were necessary, such as the 5/4 in decking and some 2x4s to do framing, as well as the PVC conduit, the plastic, and the screws. While I didn’t keep track, I couldn’t have spent more than $100, and that’s being generous.
The design is not my own, but almost fully lifted from The Optimistic Gardener’s build. If you have not found his channel already, follow this link and subscribe. He’s got a lot of great gardening content on his channel as well as more pallet project builds.
The Optimistic Gardener
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