Building a Greenhouse

Building a Greenhouse

After a lot of research and looking for the ‘glasshouse of my desire’ has been completed. My ideal is a near-free upcycled style utilising old wooden windows, and building walls to support it. My planning was really a decision process, what do I want to build, what do I want to grow in it, and where’s the best place for this in our yard. The outcome really needs to be an improvement on the make-shift shed that we had.

Here’s the simple build list – building to my budget of next-to-nothing, ideally under $100 NZD:

  1. Find and buy cheap old windows
  2. Collect the windows ready for installation
  3. Find and buy old wood for foundation and framing (< $60 total)
  4. Collect the wood and materials needed
  5. Start planning the size and considering the design
  6. Demolish the old shed & save the screws for reuse
  7. Create the foundation
  8. Create the first wall
  9. Finish all the walls
  10. Put the roof on.


  • It was easy enough to source old windows and after a few bids for $1 (one dollar), I was on my way with a small collection of various sized wooden windows.


  • Collecting all the windows was quite an ordeal travelling to many locations to pick up large and heavy old windows some in poor condition others in near-new condition.


This worked out quite well, we were able to pull the old shed down collect quite a few screws and gain access to quite a bit of still highly usable upcycled resources.


Clearing the space was quite hard, as the old shed had some plastic wrap that had disintegrated and started to flake off into the soil. This is something that I’ll need to work on overtime as it comes up to the surface. An old blue tarp that was used as an internal layer also has started to dissolve broken down by UV.
planning out the collected windows and making a scale model of the walls to see what might be possible placements.
Planning the space with a mock layup to get an idea of the size and what resources I had.


  • Work in progress ….
  • ROOF

  • Work in progress ….
  • In the microgeens garden

    In the microgeens garden

    I started an indoor garden as a hobby during the New Zealand lockdown, and continued to develop into the winter months. We attended farmers markets and then went on to sell locally and to private buyers. The project continues to deliver microgeens to order. We have a dedicated growing space in a controlled environment suitable for 20 trays of greens. Our preferred microgeens are radishes and basil.

    Jan 2021: Happening in the garden

    Jan 2021: Happening in the garden

    It’s 11th of January and I have a Product Manager interview at 10:30am, as a way to relax and prepare I decided I would get some gardening tasks completed and generally have a walk around in the cool of the day.

    Kumera is growing well in the clotch.

    Strawberries are continuing to produce. This year we forgot to cover the plants, but what we’ve discovered is a complete lack of blackbirds that would usually swoop in and gobble up bright red berries.

    Cabbages are growing awesome, we’ll have to start harvesting these shortly.

    Potato strip down the back path has worked well. Good crop and added diversity to the area beneath the fruit trees.

    Apples are coming along nicely and are a bit unexpected considering the losses we’ve had after the late frosts, many of our fruit trees are bare this year.

    The biggest delicious delight is found under a mass of peach leaves.

    Water catchment

    Water catchment

    Having arranged the water storage for garden use, I noticed that there were other down pipes that could possibly reduce the amount of water caught. If I could reduce run off without increased chances of flooding, we should be able to collect more water per down pour.

    The idea is that if water could be dammed at two points, we could increase the volume of water able to be drained into the barrels.

    The catchment area is approximately 150 square meters.

    The spouting is 5cm deep before it overflows into the house, and the dam wall is 2cm, which means that in a significant rain event the water can spill over.

    Waiting for the next rain event to test system…

    Water storage

    Water storage

    With our summer looming and the cost of domestic water increasing we have been increasing the amount of water collection and storage.

    We have a water diverter on one primary down pipe that first fills a 1000 lt tank, this over flows then to 4 x 200 lt barrels. Additionally we have a 300 lt barrel that collects water from our shed.

    The black barrels are gravity feed from the larger tank, via a 13mm plastic pipe that only starts filling the black barrel when the 1000 lt tank is 75% full.

    The two black barrels are connected together and have plastic pipes that drip line to fruit trees at key points. Into these barrels a nutrient mix is added.

    The two blue barrels have taps on them to manually decant water for buckets. The two blue barrels only fill when the primary tank is full.

    Crop planting

    Crop planting

    It’s October and I have started planting out a row of various crops at the Springston patch. Thinking of the harvest and how different plants grow, I have planted:

    • Sunflowers to either cut and sell as flowers, or to cut and feed birds late into next winter when they are hunting for a feed. Sunflowers I noticed last year are quite frost hardy, and they protect other plants beneath.
    • Red, yellow and green runner beans that will climb the sunflowers.
    • Peas that also enjoy something to climb.
    • Zucchini of various styles, curly, zephyr, and more traditional ones.
    • Pumpkins if various types, orange, grey, big and small.
    • Luffas that will be cut up and used in washing.
    • Zinnias to add a burst of colour and possibly as a cut flower for sale or at least to freshen our house.
    • Broad beans as these fix nitrogen and also have great leaves for eating. Brilliant in a summer salad.
    • Crimson clover to help keep the nitrogen up and a crop that can be mowed between crops giving a valuable mulch.
    • Yarrow common white to increase pollination and to encourage bird life. Also for potential medicinal products.
    • Tomato’s in yellow, red and black.
    • Potatoes, ready for Xmas time
    • more to add.