by Jenny Brown

One thing I’ve learned through financially tough times is that desperation often breeds creativity.

A greenhouse has been on my wish list for years but forking up the dough for a greenhouse never seems to make it from wish list to shopping list.
The more food I continue to grow for our family, the more desperate I’ve become for warm growing space for all my starts!

I have a collection of old wooden farmhouse windows that I’ve been saving to someday put together a cold-frame or small greenhouse with. For a Mother’s day gift, my husband was planning to build something for me but he fell off a ladder in the barn and shattered his wrist on the concrete floor. Once again, our greenhouse plans were put on hold.


“What am I going to do with all these plants? My grow light stand is full and I’ve only planted half my starts. That’s it! I’m not sure what I’m going to do but I’ll make something work!” My desperation was beginning to breed some creative thinking.


I chose the south side of our house for the location. Sunshine and warmth from the house foundation would give me the needed heat and one side of the ‘greenhouse’ would already be taken care of.  I began to till up the soil and add compost.


I dug a trench, found a long 2″x12″ board laying around, and placed it in the trench vertically to mark the width of the bed. I was excited about my progress and jumped a bit head of myself; I transplanted my lettuce starts just to see plants in this new spot!


I brought the windows out and propped them against the house, using the board as a support to keep them from contacting the ground. Then the fun part…bringing out my plants!


My plants are now snug and warm in their new home and my grow light stand has room for more seedlings. Where there’s a will, there’s a way!


I know I’m not the only one that has been spurred to creativity when it comes to greenhouse ideas.

Do you have an innovative greenhouse idea you’d like to share with us? Send us a picture of your creation with your name and a brief description of your idea.

Once we have enough submissions, we’ll post your photos. Your great ideas can help get the creative wheels churning for others who have a greenhouse on their wish list!

Please send your photos to


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2 Responses to “Innovative Green House Ideas – Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way!”

  1. Leslie Duke Says:

    Awesome. Love the windows. My husband and I are looking forward to the day when we can save up and get our own piece of land. there is an alley right behind our house where people are always throwing things out that can still be used just like that. We are very adamant about not throwing things away. We have gotten two great batches of compost in one year, better than any soil that you could buy. (What would people do if there was no garbage service and they had to store their trash for a year?) Do you have a newsletter you send out periodically or any other ideas for the greenhouses? We are a family of 4 and live on about $17K a year, so we can’t exactly buy the whole thing right now, plus there are so many things that can be used.

  2. Jenny Says:

    Hi Leslie,
    We have a sign-up on the homepage for our newsletter which we hope to have available soon. In the meantime, ‘liking’ us on FB will alert you to any new posts on our site!
    You can find us at:
    As far as other inexpensive ideas for greenhouses, we have been brainstorming the same issue here. The weather for the past couple years has been on a cooling trend and a few of my crops need more heat. If we build something on our farm, the materials must fit into one of three price categories…cheap, really cheap, or free. What we have been doing is just keeping our eyes out for unwanted or very inexpensive used windows. We constructed a short ‘box’ of old aluminum framed windows around my paste tomatoes this year and just laid a few windows across the top with large gaps to allow for circulation and pollination yet still retain heat. It’s not as pretty as my greenhouse but we’ve got tomatoes!

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