These are the top 3 reasons greenhouse farmers might want to start off with a cheap greenhouse.
Testing out Greenhouse Growing – If you’re getting into greenhouse farming for the first time, you may find after a season or two that it doesn’t suit your farming style – or that you don’t like the taste of greenhouse grown food. A cheaper greenhouse means less sunk costs so you can close your greenhouses down with minimal wallet trauma.
Bootstrapping a Business – Interest charges can easily eat up all your profits as a fledgeling greenhouse grower. Starting with cheap greenhouses to avoid debt is a good way to ensure that your business has the best chance possible to survive beyond those first few difficult years.
Temporary or Mobile Greenhouse Growing – Cheap greenhouses are much more mobile, meaning they can be moved around to different locations on the site or disassembled and moved to a different site altogether.
Cheap Greenhouses for Home Growers
For small scale greenhouse growers, you’ll want to consider a cold frame greenhouse or a pallet wrap greenhouse.
A cold frame is a tiny unheated greenhouse, hence the name cold frame. You can build one with little more than straw bales and an old salvaged window – in other words – they are cheap to free. Able to be completed in as short as a single afternoon, a cold frame does a great job of nurturing your young plants. However for larger greenhouse plants such as America’s favorite crop — the tomato — consider a pallet wrap greenhouse.
Cheap Greenhouses for Commercial Growers
For the commercial greenhouse grower looking to expand quickly, you want a greenhouse with a winning trifecta – cheap, sturdy and low maintenance.
The only greenhouse system with all 3 of these features are high tunnel greenhouses. The most expensive parts for a high tunnel are the structural pipes which can be either PVC or EMT conduit. The best guide I’ve so far found for putting in cheap and no frills high tunnels is Eliot Coleman’s Four-Season Harvest.
Cheap Prefabricated Greenhouses
Prefab greenhouses are always more expensive per square foot in materials, but for the greenhouse farmer without a “handy thumb” it may be a more efficient use of your time to buy a professionally designed and built greenhouse kit.
As of the day I’m writing this post, this is my favorite cheap prefabricated greenhouse. It’s rated 4 1/2 stars on Amazon, and costs just $350 for the largest size – 8×10. Put into perspective, that’s just $4.38 per square foot – and shipping is free. You can get more details about it and read all the reviews on Amazon.