Protect Your Seedlings With a Portable Mini-Greenhouse!: Home-made, portable, PVC mini-greenhouse with PERFORATED plastic film

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Protect Your Seedlings With a Portable Mini-Greenhouse!

By Gymgirl
March 12, 2014

This handy little garden tool is invaluable when it's time to protect your seedlings from the cold, wind, or sun or to harden them off for transplanting into the garden.

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Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Mar 11, 2014 7:38 PM CST
Thanks for the tip about perforated plastic film!

I always worry that my seedlings will cook, since I leave for work while it's still cold, and any sunny day is likely to be a complete surprise.

If I opened a poly tunnel every morning, they would chill before the day warmed up.
If I left it closed every gray, cold morning, I'm sure that one sunny day would kill them.

But if I use a perorated film, plus a sheet for extra-cold nights, maybe I can have the best of both worlds without being home to open flaps when the sun surprises everyone by coming out!

Also, being able to move it around looks handy. Carrying trays one at a time makes bringing them indoors impractical. But your greenhouse could be made to fit just 3-4 trays, and carry them all at once!

Thank you!
Name: Anna
North Texas (Zone 8a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Texas Clematis Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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canadanna
Mar 11, 2014 8:21 PM CST
Great idea! Thanks for sharing
Name: David Reaves
Austin, TX (Zone 8b)
Vegetable Grower Region: Texas Canning and food preservation Garden Ideas: Level 1
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david_reaves
Mar 11, 2014 10:42 PM CST
I think I could make this sort of frame for a wind screen for my Earthbox planted ttomatoes. Would have to take it down when it's time for adding the plant supports, but the stems would be strong enough by then to take a good breeze.

David R
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar
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SongofJoy
Mar 12, 2014 3:32 AM CST
Very nice idea, Linda.
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
Service dogs: Angels with paws.
Dragonflies Dog Lover I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Photography Bee Lover Plays in the sandbox
Butterflies Region: Texas I sent a postcard to Randy! Charter ATP Member Annuals Garden Sages
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lovemyhouse
Mar 12, 2014 6:34 AM CST
Thumbs up Thumbs up Thumbs up
If you don't ask, the answer is always 'no.'
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar
Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Cat Lover Avid Green Pages Reviewer Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds
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SongofJoy
Mar 12, 2014 6:46 AM CST
I have something similar to this but could make several of yours for the same cost. Thumbs up

http://www.littlegreenhouse.com/flowerhouse-starter.shtml
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Linda
SE Houston, Tx. (Hobby) (Zone 9a)
"Godspeed, & Good Harvest!"
Region: Texas Vegetable Grower Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Master Level Canning and food preservation Gardens in Buckets
Tip Photographer Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Ferns
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Gymgirl
Mar 12, 2014 8:01 AM CST
Glad this tip is helping you guys. Keep in mind, you can get PVC pipe cheap or even FREE, if you just keep your eyes open! I tip my hat to you.

RickCorey
The portable mini-greenhouse does not have a floor to it. The frame is set over wherever you set your seedlings trays. If you want to, I suppose you could redesign it to have a floor so you could carry your seedling trays - but, keep in mind, picking up trays of seedlings will add to the overall weight. And, if you don't glue the couplers together before you move any trays sitting on a bottom, you run the risk of the bottom falling out.

Just be mindful!
[Last edited by Gymgirl - Mar 12, 2014 8:37 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #569710 (7)
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Mar 12, 2014 12:21 PM CST
Linda,

Good points. Rigging it for carrying would be rather different. Probably that would go better if I made a sturdy tray separate from the lift-off-greenhouse/cold frame.

I've been daydreaming about a portable low poly-tunnel for years, but making something both windproof and portable is challenging.

Thumb of 2014-03-12/RickCorey/e5ec38 Thumb of 2014-03-12/RickCorey/87fba5

Name: Linda
SE Houston, Tx. (Hobby) (Zone 9a)
"Godspeed, & Good Harvest!"
Region: Texas Vegetable Grower Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Master Level Canning and food preservation Gardens in Buckets
Tip Photographer Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Ferns
Image
Gymgirl
Mar 12, 2014 2:32 PM CST
RickCorey,
A portable mini-greenhouse would fit perfectly over that little seed bed! Just change the dimensions on the length and width and height of the frames, set it over the site, and cover it up! Hurray! Hurray!
[Last edited by Gymgirl - Mar 12, 2014 2:33 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #569871 (9)
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Mar 12, 2014 7:53 PM CST
Well, it became my pole-pea raised bed once I braved gravity and crept up a ladder high enough to pound in a pair of (7' ?) green T-stakes. You probably saw it elsewhere, on the thread where you introduced me to "pea pots"

Thumb of 2014-03-13/RickCorey/fd7ab8 Thumb of 2014-03-13/RickCorey/8c07a6

But then I could set one of your gadgets anywhere on my beds, really, like a very big cloche, and call that a seedling bed. Nurse one section until they were big enough not to bolt, then move it along to the next block. Probably also use it as a holding pen for plants trying to harden off before the weather settles.

Hmm!

Name: Anna
North Texas (Zone 8a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Texas Clematis Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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canadanna
Mar 12, 2014 9:20 PM CST
Glad you clarified the base. I got confused when I watched the video. PVC is one material I can handle although the heating part might be tricky.. I think they also make angled connectors but maybe not the right degree.
Name: Linda
SE Houston, Tx. (Hobby) (Zone 9a)
"Godspeed, & Good Harvest!"
Region: Texas Vegetable Grower Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Master Level Canning and food preservation Gardens in Buckets
Tip Photographer Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Ferns
Image
Gymgirl
Mar 13, 2014 8:44 AM CST
Canadanna,

Go buy a heat gun! Thumbs up

Trust me, it is as easy to use as a blow dryer. The key is to use one hand to keep moving it back and forth on the area you want to bend. You can feel it getting soft enough after about 20-30 seconds, then you just gently guide it on the bend with the other hand. Make the jig in ldsprepper's video, and use it for all the A-frames. It goes pretty quickly with that jig. And, if you need to customize a jig, turn it over and use the other side, too.

The heat gun will pay for itself after a few bends. It costs a LOT less to just bend the PVC with the heat gun. Those couplers can add up quickly.

Here's the model I use. About $25 at Home Depot or Walmart. It is well worth it to have around for other PVC bending/heat projects, too.

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Wagner-HT1000-1200-Watt-Heat-Gun-...

Watch out for sales, too. I got mine for $20, on sale. I tip my hat to you.

[Last edited by Gymgirl - Mar 13, 2014 8:48 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #570212 (12)
Name: Anna
North Texas (Zone 8a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Texas Clematis Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
canadanna
Mar 13, 2014 9:38 PM CST
Thanks for the info!
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Mar 14, 2014 12:03 PM CST
I finally followed the "PVC bending" link and learned that it's OK if the pipes get some kinks when bent.

I had given up on bending PVC when I read about ways to prevent it from kinking: too much work. I started thinking about using EMT conduit instead.

I wonder if I could prevent kinks by using enough nails to give each bend a wider radius?
Name: Linda
SE Houston, Tx. (Hobby) (Zone 9a)
"Godspeed, & Good Harvest!"
Region: Texas Vegetable Grower Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Master Level Canning and food preservation Gardens in Buckets
Tip Photographer Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Ferns
Image
Gymgirl
Mar 14, 2014 1:29 PM CST
Rick,
When you're bending the PVC for these A-Frames, they don't make that much of a kink to really matter....

I actually have some old play sand I could fill my tubes with before bending them, but, it's not all that for a project like this.

Once the bends cool (in about a minute), they're still solid. And, the tubes only flatten wall-to-wall if you heat them to red hot before bending them. I keep the gun moving from side to side, heating the whole area as equally as possible. As soon as the tube starts bending down, I give it a tiny bit of pressure, backing off on the heat gun. My kinks aren't flattened entirely...

Hope this helps! I tip my hat to you.

Linda
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Mar 14, 2014 3:33 PM CST
>> Hope this helps!

Definitely. Just knowing that "a little kinkiness is OK" makes the project sound 2-3 times easier.

Ummm, that didn't come out sounding quite right ...
*Blush*

Name: Linda
SE Houston, Tx. (Hobby) (Zone 9a)
"Godspeed, & Good Harvest!"
Region: Texas Vegetable Grower Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Master Level Canning and food preservation Gardens in Buckets
Tip Photographer Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Ferns
Image
Gymgirl
Mar 14, 2014 4:03 PM CST
No, not at all, LOL!

Have a great weekend! Hurray!
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Mar 14, 2014 4:06 PM CST
You, too!

I think it's time to "hoe, hoe, hoe, MERRRY Weeding"


Region: United States of America
sondradudl
Mar 29, 2016 12:07 PM CST
I've known about the full size version but air head me didn't think to make one the size of bed and it shorter. So I wouldn't be able to stand up in it. Can't wait to get the supplies and get mine made. My garden bed is small about 4 x 4 so not to hard. Thank You!

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