Grit Blogs > Stone Hill Garden

Our Half-Dome Greenhouse: Not Pretty, But Practical

Tabatha and Shane head shotThe final modification we made to our garden in 2011 was to add a greenhouse.  The cold nights were harsh on the plants and managed to kill the green pepper, tomato, and cucumber plants we had.  The beets, cabbage, and broccoli were surviving, but we knew they needed protection from the cold.  About a week after I finished the project, we received our latest issue of GRIT that happened to have an article on a D.I.Y. greenhouse.  I had to laugh a little when I saw the great design in the magazine compared to my half dome version that I built.

  My boys and I made a trip to the local Home Depot to purchase some 1/2 inch PVC pipe (schedule 40), T-connectors, 6 mil heavy duty plastic, and some wide Gorilla Tape.  I wasn't exactly sure what shape to give the greenhouse, so I decided to just start building and adjust as necessary.  The structure naturally took a rounded shape from the beginning.  The PVC pipe was very easy to work with.

 The structural support of our half dome greenhouse 

I added some short sections of PVC around the edge of the brick garden border.  I covered the tops of these pipes with some tape.  These sections of pipe will help to keep the plastic covering from rubbing against the bricks and tearing.

All I needed to do now was to add the plastic covering, or so I thought.  After I started adding the plastic, I realized that I had not accounted for a way to gain access to our garden after the greenhouse was finished.  At this point I was hoping that I would be able to just pick up the plastic along the center pole in the front and pull it up high enough to access the garden.  In the end, this actually worked!

 The finished greenhouse 

The back of the greenhouse is covered with an old tarp that was in our garage.  I staked down the bottom of the tarp and let it hang over the greenhouse.  I trimmed the tarp to fit the shape of the structure as I taped it down.  In the end it took me about 4 hours over 3 days to construct the greenhouse.  My boys helped me as much as they could.

 My boys finished planting the broccoli and cabbage in the new greenhouse 

  Now that the greenhouse is finished we started the new year by planting some seeds in starter pots.  Tomatoes, bell peppers, spinach, and kale were our choice to begin the year with.  The boys got their hands dirty again and helped me with preparing our future food sources. The boys even planted some carrot seeds in plastic juice bottles as their own project.  If the project goes as planned, then the boys will be able to watch their carrots grow!

 My boys starting their carrot project Our first starter seeds for the new year 

tabatha&shane
1/11/2012 8:23:09 AM

You can find more pics on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/stonehillgarden. Right after we put up the greenhouse, the weather warmed up a little. The kids have been a little more interested in helping with the garden, because they like to climb inside the greenhouse. We're hoping that this helps to improve how ofter we can harvest our veggies.


mary carton
1/10/2012 1:48:15 AM

Some of my friends are using the same type, but in a tunnel shape. They can enter either end. Very functional.


nebraska dave
1/9/2012 11:52:50 PM

Tabatha and Shane, what a great hoop house design. Simple, cheap, and effective to keep the container garden safe from the frosty weather. Involving the whole family will inspire everyone to eat more of what comes from the winter garden. With the warm weather that we are having here in Nebraska, it would have been a great year to have hoop covers over the garden beds. Have a great day under the hoop cover.