How to Build a Hothouse

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A hothouse, perhaps better known as a greenhouse, is a building designed to let in sunlight and retain warmth for the purpose of growing plants. A hothouse need not be large; it can be as small as a cabinet. Alternatively, a hothouse can be very large and able to accommodate hundreds of plants. No matter the size you choose, constructing the building isn't terribly difficult, though it could prove time-consuming if not planned correctly.

Things You'll Need

  • 1-inch diameter PVC pipes
  • Rebar
  • 2-by-4-inch boards
  • Sledgehammer
  • Circular saw
  • Polyethylene roll
  • Industrial stapler
  • Staple sticks
  • Utility knife
  • Determine what size hothouse you require. A small winter-time herb garden, for example, requires very little space, while a garden large enough to provide a family with substantial food requires quite a bit more space. Estimate that you'll need a hothouse the size of your typical summer garden.

  • Cut 4-foot long boards using a power or hand saw. Pound each piece into the ground 4-feet apart in a row until you have a line the desired length of the hothouse. Each board should be pounded 2-feet into the ground. Repeat, pounding pieces of wood into the ground next to the current stakes, spacing them as far apart as you want the hothouse to be wide.

  • Pound rebar stakes into the ground against each wood stake. The rebar should be 2-feet into the ground, and should extend about 1-foot above the adjacent wood stake. Wrap a piece of wire around the wood and rebar to hold it in place. Repeat for each stake.

  • Nail a long piece of 2-by-4-inch wood across each stake to connect them together horizontally and keep them straight. Trim excess wood off the end using a saw if necessary. Repeat on the other side.

  • Place a PVC pipe over a piece of rebar, then flex it and place the other end over the opposite rebar stake. Repeat until each stake has a PVC pipe. Run a long PVC pipe across the bent pipes to form a beam; fix it in place with wire. This pipe will stabilize the rest and hold them in place.

  • Staple the end of a Polyethylene roll onto the horizontal plank nailed to the vertical stakes, then throw it over the hothouse and down the other side. Stretch it tight and staple it to the opposite horizontal plank. Trim the plastic from the roll, then repeat, overlapping each layer a few inches to help keep water out. Run polyethylene down the entire length of the structure. Place an excess strand near each end so that it will hang downwards and cover the openings. Stake the plastic into the ground on one end to form a backing, but leave the other side loose so you can enter the structure.

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  • Photo Credit Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images
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