Q. Many people tout their favorite greenhouse plans as the cheapest and best. What makes the Mittleider designs better than the Hoop-House tunnel ones, or the glass paneled ones, etc.? The permanent one in the Mittleider Gardening Course would be difficult and expensive to move, wouldn’t it?
A. There’s cheap and there’s cheap. The Foundation is very concerned with helping people do things the most economical way. However, that is not always the cheapest way at the outset.
The greenhouse plans we give people don’t have to be “permanent”. My greenhouse at Utah’s Hogle Zoo Garden is on Stirrups and is entirely screwed together for quick dismantling and removal; it’s covered with a single sheet of 6 mil greenhouse plastic; it has the best ventilation system of any comparable-sized greenhouse in the world, and it costs virtually nothing extra.
Anyone with a garden large enough to need a greenhouse of this size will be greatly blessed financially by doing it right. There are many reasons why this greenhouse is better than the cheap hoop-type, given the sizes are comparable:
1) It’s structurally very sound, and will not be blown down by storms.
2) Strong built-in tables keep plants off the ground avoiding cold, wet, bugs, and diseases.
3) Built-in continuous ventilators in roof and sides keep plants cool in hot weather without electrical fans.
By the way, while the plans show a twenty by forty-foot greenhouse, it can easily be scaled down to any size that fits your needs. Even an 8′ X 16′ greenhouse, that would be a real boon to the backyard gardener, is easily built using these plans.
And for those folks who only want an even smaller one, the Grow-Box Gardens book has a couple of plans that cost very little, yet are sturdy and practical.
These greenhouses have been built, tested, and proven highly effective in many countries throughout the world – from 60 degrees North latitude in Russia to 20 degrees South latitude in Madagascar – and many are still in use after 25 and 30 years. Remember that initial cost is only a small part of the investment equation.