Celebrate the culture of agriculture & share skills (Growing! Cooking! Eating!)

Building a permanent greenhouse with cattle panels - part 1

The greenhouse today - still a lot to do

Last year I decided I wanted to build a small greenhouse. I wanted to have a place to start seedlings and be able to pot things in the spring out of the weather and then let them grow on till weather allowed them to go outside. Since then I've also done a lot of reading about 4 season growing and decided I would like to incorporate an area in the greenhouse to do that too. I wanted to do it as inexpensively as possible so decided cattle panels would be the way to go. For anyone that doesn't know what they are, a cattle panel is fencing for livestock you can purchase in sections at Tractor Supply or a feed store. It's comes in 16' lengths 52" tall. They run about $20 each. It's rigid and can be arched to make a structure 8' wide and any length depending on how many you use. I wanted it 8' x 12'.

Last summer I started the base. It was hard for me to figure out because it was going to be located on a slope and I wanted a dirt floor without having to do ground work to level the area. I also wanted to make the back end of it to be a place I could put the chickens for the winter so I lined the floor with hardware cloth so it would be predator proof.

This was what I got done last year.

I added 3 cattle panels

To get the cattle panels on, I start by clamping a 1" x 4" board to the base. I drilled pilot holes along the bottom of the board and then added 2" hex screws.

I left the hex screws out about a 1/2" to 3/4" so there was a gap between the base and the board so I could then slide the end of the cattle panel into the space. The screws kept it from going all the way through to the ground. When I got all three panels into the boards on both sides I added some hex screws above so the cattle panels can't be raised.

Then I tightened them all using a socket wrench which makes it fairly fast compared to using a regular wrench.

The cattle panels were older and not as rigid as new ones are so they ended up leaning some. I cut out a door way and then added a brace to straighten it out till I got permanent bracing in. Then I added a doorway in front and in the back.

I added the tarp to keep my tools dry in case of rain while I am working on it. When both the front and back doorways are in I can add the bracing to the top by adding 2 - 12' 2 x 4's to the top of the doorways to make it strong enough to handle a snow load. Right now the back door is only clamped.

I did the back doorway differently.

Hope to get time later this week to finish the front and back but the pigs have been escaping daily so need to redo their situation first.


Views: 27183

Comment by jason chambers on October 27, 2010 at 11:37pm
looks great
Comment by Cornelia on October 28, 2010 at 12:21pm
Elizabeth, in case you didn't see...I posted a link to this on our Facebook page and folks LOVED it! http://www.facebook.com/homegrowndotorg

Tory Lamb Cross this is fantastic!
Tuesday at 1:30pm · ·
Janet Dillon OMG, this is too cute. Great instructions too. And a GIRL! ;-) Reposting at City Farmer. Thank you.
Tuesday at 1:33pm · ·
Lisa R Braddock looking forward to how you are attaching the doors and how you will keep the plastic from blowing away. I'm trying to finish my hoop house tomorrow in anticipation of Thursday night's frost. I call mine hog panels but it' the same general design....your's is more sturdy with the nice wood base. I might have to retrofit! :)
Tuesday at 2:26pm · ·
Rich Radtke
When Part II is ready, We'll be reposting both on the 'Small Farm & Sustainability' FB Group. http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=294631353064

The group thrives on projects & info like this. Thanks Elizabeth.
Celebrate the homestead movem...ent!See More
Tuesday at 2:34pm · ·
Michelle Broccoli wow, your tarp is exactly the right size!
Tuesday at 7:57pm · ·
Comment by Elizabeth Wilson on October 28, 2010 at 1:09pm
Cornelia, thank you for reposting on facebook and letting me know. I never think about facebook so wouldn't have ever known if you hadn't told me. Knowing others are interested and enjoying it will help inspire me to find the time to finish it even quicker!
Comment by Paul Lueders on October 28, 2010 at 4:54pm
Cool Greenhouse! Please post more pictures as you finish construction.
Comment by John Botts on October 30, 2010 at 11:29am
I have built a cattle panel greenhouse that we started our seedling tomatoes, peppers, and many other veggies in this spring. ULTRA AFFORDABLE-ULTRA EASY!!!! Mine is made on treated 4x4's so that I can pull it to different locations with a tractor. I will try to post some photos of mine!!! Yours looks awesome Elizabeth, thanks for sharing it with everyone!! Peace-Johnboy
Comment by Elizabeth Wilson on October 30, 2010 at 12:12pm
Your right.... They are super easy and super affordable for what you end up with. I use almost this same design for animal housing too. I move my goats and now the pigs every 6 - 9 months to a new location and this cattle panel concept makes it doable. I can't wait for you to share your pictures too.
Comment by Asia Mahon on November 3, 2010 at 11:34pm
Thank you for taking such detailed pictures! I am going to copy you exacto, and have the greenhouse I need too.
Comment by John D. Jones on April 4, 2012 at 10:22am

great greenhouse!!! Wish I had seen this before I bought one from TSC :) The stock panels make great arbors too. 


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