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DIY Hot House

Like to feed your entire family year round on fresh home grown produce? Read on....

No matter where you live, keeping a healthy warm environment is essential for germinating seeds and growing your plants. In the colder regions of Australia a hot house will also allow you to grow vegetables all year round.

A small hot house can either be made yourself or purchased relatively cheaply but neither offers the size whilst being a cost effective solution for growing a substantial crop.

Here are the plans, materials list and steps to make a 6 meter long x 3.8 meter wide x 2.5 meter high hot house for under $500.00. Expect to pay upwards of $2,000 for a commercial product of similar size.

Type

Qty

Length

Width

Cost

Reinforced Steel Rod

10

1800mm

16mm

$140.00

Electrical Conduit

7

4.5mtr

25mm

$80.00

Treated Pine 50 x 25

4

5.4Mtr

-

$20.00

Treated Pine 70 x 50

2

5.4Mtr

-

$18.00

Galvanized Tie Wire

1

30mtr roll

1.57mm

$6.00

Stabalizied Polyethylene

1

11Mtr

7.5Mtr

$121.00

Gate Hinge 2 Pack

1

-

-

$20.00

Quick Set concrete

1

-

-

$5.00

Fencing Pales

24

1200mm

150mm

$25.00

       

$435.00

Planning: Layout

In this example at a friends house, their was an existing structure (old barrier fence), but you really don’t need it – actually it’s preferable you don’t as the original fence was not straight and caused the whole structure to be slightly out of balance. It would have been much better to start from scratch.


Construction:

Step 1: Setting in the Rebar stakes

Before you begin it’s a great idea to clear your work area. Not only leveling the ground for the actual hot house but also you immediate work area.

Measure out an area 6Mtr x 3.8mtr and mark each corner with a tent peg. Run a string line around the perimeter.

Starting at one corner work your way down a long edge and place a tent peg every 1200mm (this is the location for your rebar stakes). The most important point here is setting a straight string ling before you begin. (If the line is not straight the hot house will end up being lop sided and will make it hard to keep the Polyethylene cover tight and will flap in the wind.)

Once the work area has been pegged out you can drive in the rebar stakes. A sledge hammer is preferred but a hammer or axe will do. Once again accuracy is the key and it’s important that all rebar stakes and driven into the ground at the same depth. This will also ensure the hot house remains square.

You will need to drive the stakes into the soil by around 900mm leaving 900mm above ground. Depending on your soil mixture this can be one of the hardest parts of the project – for stability they need to be set in at this depth!

 

 

 

 


Step 2: Door Frame

With the rebar stakes driven in around the perimeter it’s time to work on the door frames.

I used a door frame width of 1000mm, and height of 1800mm - centered between the end posts.

Start of by measuring the distance between the end corner stakes, subtract the width of your door and then divide by two. This will give you the distance in from the corner strakes to dig the holes for the door frame. (Once again you can mark the location with a tent peg). Dig the holes out with a post hole digger (or narrow spade).

Using the 70x50 treated pine cut to 2200mm lengths & sunk into the holes by 400mm leaving head room space of 1800mm…

Set the posts in with quick set concrete and use some old wooden planks as a temporary brace to hold in place once they have been set square with a spirit level.

The support / brace runners are constructed with the 50x25 treated pine. Given it’s not load bearing this size wood will work fine.

Firstly run two pieces from the top of the constructed door frame to the first side rail. Power screws work fine but use “coated” screws so they won’t rust.

Once the concrete has set, run another brace to the second post.


Step 3: Running the conduit

With the re-bar in place and the door frames up, it’s time to run the conduit.

4.5Mtr lengths of conduit are perfect for this size frame and will not require any shortening – if you are making a different size hot house, change accordingly.

Providing all the rebar stakes have been spaced evenly and set to the same depth, you can drill the two holes 12mm either side of center on the cross member poles. You will use these holes to attach the center pole with the fencing wire.

Connect all cross members to the rebar stakes and lift the poles up or down to achieve a uniform curve throughout the entire length of the hot house.

You will also need to attach a centre length of PVC conduit the entire length of the hot house and fix with bailing wire – this gives the structure its strength.


Step 4: Laying the Polyethylene Plastic

Once the cross-members are aligned, it’s a simple task of laying the plastic over the frame.

I removed the doors first, laid all the plastic from end to end and secured to the side boards before cutting the entries for the end posts and doors.

 

 

Run a layer of fence palling onto the outer side to the bottom wooden runner and fasten with nails & power screws.

Remember to remove all sharp edges from the outer structure as they can cause a tear in the plastic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There you have it – You can easily set up a roof run water system from your water tank and enjoy bug & bird free year round growing of your herbs, vegetables.


To give you an idea how well this Hot House works we have taken two time elapsed pictures of the same plants. These two pictures where taken over a period of two weeks:

Day 1:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 14:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NOTE: All care has been taken to provide accurate plans for this hot house but please check price, size, design & local council regulations before building your own.

All though this is a working plan it should be used as a guide only !