A couple of years ago, Mother Earth News ran an article about building a DIY greenhouse from old windows. I tucked the info away and went on with my day.... I still lived in the city at that time and was growing vegetables on some rented farmland, so a greenhouse wasn't in the cards at the time.
Here on the farm, my husband constructed a hoophouse frame this summer. However, we never got the end caps framed so it sits out back with no plastic on it. That's okay, we'll probably get it done next year. I think I'll only use it to extend the season on crops, though. The more I work with hoophouses, the more I see that they are a bit difficult. The plastic sheeting is hard to get on correctly, the frames are not very strong, and strong winds are a serious problem.
Yesterday we visited a Habitat for Humanity Restore about an hour away. Heaven! I was in heaven! A thrift store for home projects! My husband and I had arranged for my parents to watch the boys, and we had removed every single seat from the minivan before our trip. Good thing, because the back of that minivan was so full we almost needed a crowbar. Quick side note: all the items are donated (used windows, many new windows, counters, sinks, lights, on and on and on).... and all the proceeds (100%) go to Habitat for Humanity.
We bought counters for our mobile home project (I'll have to update all of you about that, there are two mobile homes on our farm, one we've been rehabbing for a few months now and hope to open an on-farm store with a food demo / cooking kitchen and also space for my husband to homebrew beer.... hope to have it open by next May). We found a sink, window framing, baseboard, and more for the mobile home. I also found a long light counter & big sink for next year's outdoor chicken & turkey butchering station (we'll be applying for a USDA exemption allowing us to process our poultry on-farm for sale, but need to follow the USDA rules for an on-farm processing station).
When we were leaving, we were out back of the store loading up and chatting with a couple of the volunteers. I noticed some pallets sitting by the back door so asked if they were free for the taking. I also noticed a large stack of exterior doors, which the volunteers pointed out were also free. Hmmmmm.... 3 of those huge exterior doors were nothing but a gigantic pane of glass framed in! I've been saving windows for a while now, dreaming of a DIY greenhouse here on the farm framed with lumber and simply covered with old "recycled" windows. We just didn't have enough room to take anything more with us, though. So... my husband works in that town, and on Monday he plans to take the minivan to work with all the seats out so he can take doors & pallets. Awesome! Here is an image of a similar project like the one I'm planning:
I hope you can find a Habitat for Humanity Restore near you. I wish we had known about this place a few years ago! When we were leaving, another customer told us about a huge Restore location another hour west from this one, which serves the Chicago suburbs (gets all their stuff), and is the size of a Home Depot. My husband and I can't wait for the chance to check that one out!!!
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