budget gardening, garden prep, gardening, greenhouse, growing flowers, unheated greenhouse

$140 Greenhouse Review + Tips for Greenhousing on a Budget

I received my greenhouse April 1st of this year. I wanted to extend my growing season not only this spring, but also this fall! It’s been a couple of months since my purchase, so I figured it was time to give my review for the sake of you future greenhouse buyers. Amazon buyers gave this greenhouse 3 1/2 stars. I give it 5 stars as I believe the value for $ is unbeatable (it took me two weeks to decide which greenhouse to buy). Scroll down to find the link after the review.

Quictent 12′ X 7′ X 7′ Portable Greenhouse Large Walk-in Green Garden Hot House

Things to Consider for your Budget Greenhouse:

Air flow: All plants need 4 things to grow; sunlight, water, good soil, and air circulation. Be sure to buy a greenhouse that has venting, even if it’s just simple roll up windows like the ones below. If there is no circulation, your greenhouse will run the risk of being too humid. This greenhouse has two doors and 6 vented windows, perfect for providing lots of air on hot days with the option of closing everything up to prep for cold nights.

Durability: This greenhouse just went through spring in Ohio. Thus, she’s endured hail storms, snow, heavy winds (40-50 mph), as well as thunderstorms. This wouldn’t have happened had I only used the pins provided in the kit. We added fence posts to the four corners of the greenhouse and zip-tied and bungee’d them to the metal greenhouse frame. My dad had the idea to add socks to the posts to make sure they didn’t puncture the greenhouse plastic. We also put bricks and cinderblocks on the outside plastic to keep too much wind out. I recommend you get creative with what’s lying around/ask around before going out to buy supplies. Garden stuff adds up quickly. Within the first week of buying this greenhouse, I had a small rip that I taped up with duct tape (pictured below). Since then, I haven’t had any issues. I call that a win for $140.

Size: It’s time to be honest with ourselves, how much space do we really need? I fit 350+ plants in this greenhouse. They say the more plants you have growing together, the better they do. Hey man, it’s not hippie dippie stuff, it’s science.

Read more here: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/5/130507-talking-chili-plant-communication-science/

Anywho, if I had fewer plants, I may want a smaller space as I want the plants to be close to one another. However, this size of greenhouse may offer you the space to grow your plant collection for a few years to come. If I had shelving in this grow space vs. the tables I currently have, I could fit double or triple the plants in here.

Here is the link to this wonderful greenhouse (looks like it’s gone up a few dollars, I’d wait until it goes on sale again though still worth it!): https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001QIHEY0/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o07_s00?ie=UTF8&th=1

Greenhouse Growing Tips and Tricks:

Heating the house: With all that’s been going on in the world, there was no way I could afford to heat my greenhouse with conventional methods such as heaters or heated plant blankets. So, I started looking for every possible way to heat a greenhouse with thermal energy (more science stuff). The cheapest and easiest methods seemed to be water, rocks, and regular ol’ blankets. I decided to use all three.

I got a 55 gal. drum and filled it with water, covering the top but not twisting it on as it could possibly explode on a hot day. I also used an old plastic trash can. I covered both in trash bags to attract more light (and therefore more heat). You could also just paint them, this is what I had on hand. These drums are expensive if you don’t know someone. This is a drum that was used to pickle garlic and cost me $20. I know a guy who knows a guy, and that’s why I love small towns. Don’t pay the hundreds of dollars they want for them online, it’d be better to just fill up more small trash cans/5 gallon buckets. The water will collect heat during the day and give off collected heat at night when your greenhouse needs it most.

I put blankets underneath my plants until just last week when I was confident our last frost was over. The ground is warmer at night and the tables warmer during the day, so to save myself some work moving them every morning and night, I provided night insulation. I also put blankets on top of my plants when the weather was predicted to dip below 40 degrees. I didn’t find much about this online, but I can attest to the effectiveness. Family friends with a greenhouse next to mine had all of their plants freeze one night mid-April. I hadn’t taken mine inside as I normally would when it dips below 32 degrees because the freeze was not predicted. However, my plants made it and I have my blankets, water, and rocks to thank for this.

Keeping pests out: Despite everyone telling me I had nothing to worry about, I couldn’t help but feel it a bad idea to spray inside my greenhouse with chemicals to kill bugs. This dilemma came up after one day when I spotted a brown recluse spider, yikes! So, I got to googling and created a spray that should deter all sorts of different pests. There have been many experiments done confirming the effectiveness of using certain essential oils for this purpose. While this spray does not harm the bugs, it does keep them away. I haven’t seen a brown recluse since, thank goodness.

Here is my pest-deterrent essential oil spray:

  • a few drops of orange — deters ants
  • a few drops of tea tree oil — deters mosquitos (more for me than plants)
  • a few drops of peppermint — deters stinkbugs and spiders (even brown recluse!)
  • a few drops of lemongrass — deters spiders and mosquitos

Fill the rest of your spray bottle with warm water, shake, and voila! I don’t spray this directly on my plants, just around the border of the greenhouse and the pots/tables.

Find a spray bottle that’s about empty around the house if you can!

Do you have any other tips/tricks that I didn’t share and we would benefit from? Let me know below.

Happy Gardening!

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