How to Build a Mini-Greenhouse
Would you like to grow a significant amount of your food at home? You might be surprised just how much produce you can generate in a relatively small mini-greenhouse right in your own backyard. Cleverly disguised as an attractive looking shed your neighbors may never suspect a thing! With windows, the appropriate insulation, interior finishing and the addition of an air-conditioner you can grow all year round in any climate.
Start with a shed approximately 9’ X 13’ or similar size. If you are a handy person you can build such a shed from a set of plans like the one here. Alternatively, you can order a pre-built shed and have it delivered in your yard from companies such as http://www.shedshopflorida.com/ or http://thebackyarddepot.com/. Here are the steps:
Build (or purchase and have delivered) a shed like the one pictured above with windows on all four walls. You can also add skylights as an option. The porch is a nice touch but also optional. Depending upon where you live you may need to get a permit from your county government and permission from your Home Owner’s Association.
Have an electrician run 30 amp service to the shed sufficient to power the lights and air conditioner. You may need a separate permit for the electrical work.
Install a packaged Terminal Air Conditioning (PTAC) unit through the wall. This type of air conditioner is capable of both heating and cooling with automatic changeover. Ideally, the temperature should be kept between 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit and the humidity less than 50%. Keep the circulator fan programmed to run continuously.
Have a plumber run a ½’ cold water supply pipe to the shed and install a hose bib inside. I would suggest an RV inline hose filter. Make sure the pipe is properly buried and insulated to protect against freezing.
Install several drain holes in the floor for watering your plants.
Install lighting and use full spectrum bulbs. LED lighting is an excellent choice from an energy conservation point of view. Plus, unlike fluorescent bulbs there is no mercury in LED lights. You will need enough to give 5000 foot-candles of light. This is the same as 5000 lumens one foot away from the top of the sprouts. This will require about ten 60-watt equivalent light bulbs. Plan on keeping the lights on 12 hours a day and turn them off at night. You can use an automatic timer for this function.
You will need to insulate the walls and ceiling so your utility bills will not be too high and you will be able to maintain the correct temperature and humidity. Insulate the walls floor and ceiling with a minimum of R-11 insulation.
Install drywall on all the walls and the ceiling. Use green board drywall.
Tile the floor and walls up to the ceiling like the inside of a shower. Paint the ceiling with no-VOC paint.
Install a sound system so you can play classical music to your plants eight to twelve hours a day!
In this configuration you can fit up to 168 small trays for sprouts, microgreens and wheatgrass if you use vertical racks such Hydrosol. This number of tray is enough to feed and juice for up to nine people living on 100% sprouts, microgreens and green juices made from sprouts.
If you build the mini-greenhouse yourself the cost of all the materials will be around $7,000. Happy growing!
For details on how to successfully grow the best wheatgrass, sunflower and other sprouts see my book, “Growing Your Own Living Foods – Sprouting the Easy Way” which can be found on my website here:
Your whole family will enjoy and experience the amazing benefits of fresh juiced wheatgrass!
I teach really fun and informative classes and workshops in South Florida and elsewhere on how to grow wheatgrass, sprouts, organic gardening, raw food prep classes as well as a wide variety of other natural health and wellness related topics. See my Events page so you can find me.
I also host natural health and wellness retreats. Come with me to my next retreat in Costa Rica on January 14, 2018:). Here are the details: