Plastic Bottle Greenhouse and other ways to recycle pop bottles...
Plus links to other ways of using Plastic bottles.
I've reorganised so that the updates are listed as most recent first, so its easy to catch up.
How I built my Greenhouse.
or how to ignore instructions and get away with it!
I then set about collecting the parts together, namely :
Fenceposts, reasonably thick wire, and of course empty 2 litre plastic bottles.
For this I turned to Freegle, and after 6 months I had a garage full of bin liners of plastic bottles, some fence posts, and I bought some garden wire from ebay and Wilkos.
Whilst I was still collecting bottles I started to process what I had, which involved taking the labels off the bottles, cutting off the bottoms and stacking them together.
I stacked most them in 3's initially as they then fitted back into the bin liners nicely, but some went on bamboo canes in my garden to see how they would fare over the winter.
The actual construction started once the really cold weather stopped and I was happy to be working outside.
Firstly I sorted out what fence posts I had and from that drew up a rough plan of the shape of the greenhouse. Deciding on a sloping roof as then I'd only need one gutter.
Next was putting the frame together using the odd lengths of fence posts that I had salvaged,,,
Then I started stretching the supporting wires around the wooden frame. This was done in layers wrapping the wires around each post to give pairs of wires between which the bottles can be slotted (see photo's)
After that it was just a case of slotting in the stacks of bottles (tops downwards so that any water would drain out the bottom of the bottles) digging the bottom of each stack slightly into the soil, and using this to give a bit of leeway in the height of the stacks, and having an uncut bottle at the top of each stack.
Finally adding wire ties to tighten the supporting wires around the stacks at random intervals.
The last section to go on was the roof, then finally I made a frame for the door and hung and stacked that.
I can't have done too bad a job, as its still standing nearly 4 years later!
Building the Greenhouse
The wooden frame
Adding the wires. 3 layers about 18 inches apart, with one wire looping around each post to give a slot to feed the bottles through.
the first stacks of bottles slotted in.
Stacking the bottles in place.
Blog Posts about plastic bottle greenhouses from Google
Since stripping out the tomatoes in September I really haven't done much at the greenhouse. This years lettuce hasn't worked - probably because the plastic roof has survived this year, and I haven't been down to water the inside much. The first signs of growth are happening though, with the broad beans I planted in November on one side starting to come up.
Once the snow retreats I will start some early lettuce off. Plus I need to start off my tomatoes at home for later in the year.
I've finally added the side extension walls, so both sides are now walled with bottles - except for where the water butts in the way, its roofed with netting, and open fronted. I planted some cabbage and cauliflowers and Kale in there today, so they should come on quicker come the spring.
wet, wet, wet.
Photos from June 2012
The added 'cloche' at one end. Last year it was an unsucessful hot bed, now its got melons in (if the slugs havent eaten them yet!)
he greening roof.
April into May 2012
The greenhouse has now been emptied of lettuce, so I've transplanted the remaining uneaten ones to outside - there were a good dozen lettuces in there hiding under the miners lettuce, which had gone a bit crazy. The growbags have gone in (it was direct in the soil last year, so back to growbags this year) with the tomatoes. The outside extensions at the front and side have been tidied ready for melons and cucumbers - a new experiment for this year, assuming the cucumber seedlings start growing.
The good thing about the weather is there haven't been any frosts for weeks, so no rushing around covering up potatoes etc.We just need a bit more sun now.
Now that the Tom's are in I need to add a plastic sheet to the roof to stop them getting too wet, but I'll leave that till I'm back from half term holidays.
Maintenance wise the roof is looking in need of a clean, its getting a bit greeny brown up there, but I'll wait till a nice sunny day before tackling that.
an unseasonally warm month
Aprils not looking so good so far, but I'm getting ready to add the tomatoes to the greenhouse.
The fourth year of the plastic bottle greenhouse!
Overall I am still really chuffed with it, and if the weather keeps up I will be adding the 'cloche' to the front and redoing the side extension windbreak over the next few weeks. I can't wait to start planting for this year, and do need to get some tomato and pepper seeds started off at home.
The lettuces are doing ok in there again, and it shouldn't be long before they spring back to life and we get to give the garden lettuces a rest. Temperstures continue to be about 4 degrees C higher inside than out (even though the door was open!)
its been a while since I updated...
What I have done since Septembers post is clear out the tomato plants and plant out a load of lettuce and chinese cabbage to overwinter in the greenhouse and supply me with early salads next year. Although if the weather stays as mild as it has been I may well be picking them during the winter.
I may get round to the extension sometime... but whilst the weather is good my new obsession of disc golf is eating into my allotment time.
Once the weather dies down to the seasonal norms I will take out the toms, and get the winter lettuce seedlings that are growing at home in. Its just such nice weather this week.
UPDATE 3rd September
Well we're just into September now, and I've realised I forgot to report on the temperatures.
The Greenhouse appears to be consistently about 3-5 degrees centigrade warmer than outside, depending on the wind (its a higher difference the more windy it is)
The Tomatoes are slowly ripening up, and its easily the best year for tomatoes in the greenhouse, despite the poor start. Helped enormously by the fact that I've had no blight. Where I would normally have had to pick a lot of green tomatoes when the blight struck, this year they can ripen up themselves, and are the largest tomatoes I have grown in there. The downside being I cant get my winter lettuce in until the tomatoes are out!
In the greenhouse the tomatoes have continued to do badly, I really must use growbags again next year! but they are picking up a bit.
I now have a thermometer inside the greenhouse, and another outside, so I can compare the temperature.
On the 7th July - when I put the thermometers out, it was 17C outside, and 21.5C in the greenhouse, mainly I think due to the wind protection, as it was very windy outside. I will take note everytime i go down, and hopefully work out what sort of difference the greenhouse makes.
UPDATE: I've been monitoring the temperature for a couple of weeks now and can say that the greenhouse temperature is generally 3-5 degrees C higher than outside in the sun.
The greenhouse isn't doing so well, the tomatoes are looking weedy and I'm wondering why I didn't use growbags as i have before. But never mind I have lots of tomatoes in my garden. I will try putting something else in at the extra space infront of the weedy tomatoes, and hope that the cucumbers take better....
Everything is busy growing on the allotment, and at home where i have a lot of seedlings waiting to go to the allotment.
The greenhouse is still standing up to the recent wind. I have now added plastic to the roof,as I did last year to prevent it getting too humid in there (if it ever rains...), and the tomatoes are in, although all of my cucumber seedlings have been eaten, and the overwintered lettuces are slowly being picked. There are also 2 wooden boxes of potatoes in there as well (in the aisle) which i will soon be eating.
All is well, and my allotment neighbour of the last year asked is she could see inside, so people are still curious...
I haven't got round to the extension yet, but hope to over the summer.
End of March 2011
February 2011 Update
September October update
Update June to August 2010
Lots of growing going on generally, and in the greenhouse there are tomatoes - I'm trying to keep on top of them a bit more this year, and have planted less so they don't get too crowded - cucumbers, peppers and aubergines, plus carrots in growbags and boxes. The new roof cover is still on, and the water butt has filled up enough for me to discover the tap doesn't work, but at least the roof and gutter are filling it up.
July and August....
Picking loads and not buying any fruit or veg at all as the allotment is providing crops of lettuce, raspberries, blackberries, courgettes, squashes, leaf beet, french beans, potatoes, onions, beetroot and chives.
Plus the greenhouse is now producing a healthy crop of tomatoes, and a few carrots.
Its still holding itself up, with the only glitch being the plastic sheet added to the roof which is starting to shred in the wind.
Progress March 2010
Progress Feb 2010
progress 01 oct 09
its still there...
Progress Report 10/07/09
whats happening to and in the greenhouse.
Structurally my DIY skills are being shown up, as the doors falling apart, and the roof is still filling up with water - I am going to pierce the bottles to let the water out, but need to use a hot nail or equivalent to do it as I cant puncture them with a knife, but I keep forgetting to take the stuff with me to do it.
Temperature wise its doing nicely, it was nice and warm in there at 5.30 this morning, and too warm by about 11am.
See the pics below.
Progress Report 22nd May 2009
whats up and whats coming down...
My Tomatoes and Cucumbers are doing well, as you can see in the new pictures. The Aubergines have succumbed to slugs however. I'm busily trying to sort out the rest of the allotment and get a playhouse built so the greenhouse is being left to its own devices.The major niggle at the moment is the roof, as my idea of putting the bottles neck down is great in the walls, but is causing big puddles to form in the roof bottles. Therefore at some point I will have to take the roof out - probably one row at a time, and reverse the bottles. Hopefully this will sort out the problem as water will drip out between the bottles where at the moment its collecting in the necks.
Hows it doing?
whats going on in the greenhouse now its up...
The instant impression is how much warmer it is in there than outside, its in quite a windy spot so just getting rid of the wind makes a big difference, plus the fact that its self watering... by which I mean that the guttering is pointless as all of the rain drips through the roof - and waters the plants, so its not a problem, but it is not a good place to shelter....
Wind wise its holding up well, the walls and roof shift about and squeak a bit in the wind but so far nothing has blown out.
Overall I'm impressed, and a coldframe might well be the next step as I still have a lot of bottles in my garage.