Mini Greenhouse
Stretch your Growing Season


With this mini greenhouse, we enjoy greens and fresh salad all winter long. Learn how we built our hoop house with scrap PVC, a strip of 6 mil plastic, and a few PVC fittings, for less than $20.

When winter is coming on here at our Arizona desert homestead and the temperatures are dropping, we still look forward to eating fresh kale, chard, escarole, lettuce, and other fresh hardy produce with the aid of a mini greenhouse. Don’t be misled by the fact that our homestead is in the southern Arizona desert. Last year, one storm dropped six inches of snow on our place. The following week, another cold front brought our temperatures here at the Bear Cave down to 2 F. It gets more than cold enough here to zap most tender growing garden plants unless we provide some protection.

Last year, we simply protected as well as we could with row cover. We found that without supports, heavy frost and snow broke down some of the plants under the row cover. While it probably didn’t hurt the nutritional value when we used them immediately, we really felt sad about the squashed greens. They looked pretty pathetic.

So this year, we decided to give them another layer of protection. Our neighbor had done some plumbing in a new out-building and had left a small pile of scrap 3/4" PVC out behind his shop. Our Arizona sun had baked the pieces for a number of months and they were definitely too brittle to make a hoop. Enter the PVC angled joints. With a pair of 45 and one 90 couple, we had our own version of a hoop for our mini-greenhouse. By repeating this process five times, we had five supports for our mini greenhouse.

Barbara, our resident math expert (among so many other things), drew out a plan using the width of our raised bed as the length of the hypotenuse of the isosceles triangle that became the top section of our “hoop”.

This calculation gave me a very accurate measurement for the length of the angled “hoop” sections. This resulted in the top sections of PVC being cut to 31” based on the 43” outside width of the raised bed. We determined the rise of the “hoop” by estimating the height of the greens at the edge of the raised bed. In our case, we made the side pieces 14” high.

We assembled five of these hoops to give us a mini-greenhouse with supports every 2 ½’. We dry-fit the joints for convenient dis-assembly and storage next summer.

We drove pieces of 3/8” rebar into the ground at the outer edge of the bed and slipped the end of the PVC hoop over it. We then tied the PVC hoop to the raised bed with plumbers tape and a couple short sheet rock screws. Besides allowing us to level the tops, this seems to support the hoops well with both the weight of the plastic cover and some wind attempting to move them around.







Two sections of light cotton line tied with the ends out on one side and in on the other made a system that allows us to tie up either one side or both sides for picking produce or working in the garden.

In high winds, you will want to weight down the edges of the plastic to prevent flapping.

Two sections of light cotton line tied with the ends out on one side and in on the other made a system that allows us to tie up either one side or both sides for picking produce or working in the garden.

In high winds, you will want to weight down the edges of the plastic to prevent flapping.


In the event that you have to buy your PVC new, this little Mini Greenhouse will still be both practical and inexpensive.

You can enjoy a longer growing season and happy gardening.


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