How to create a temporary greenhouse for winter plant storage?

My pergola late spring thru mid-Fall.
I grew up with a grandmother who loved flowers, cactus, and potted tropical plants.  From spring warm-up thru mid-Fall temperatures, she kept her potted plants on her front porch. When winter weather came, she stored them on her back porch, since she did not have a garage or enough room in her small house.  She made her screened-in back porch a temporary green house with plastic sheeting stapled to the top of the wooden frame of the porch, just under the ceiling.  When it came time to move her plants to the front porch and take down her make-shift green house, she simply used a flat-head screwdriver to pry out the staples and fold up the plastic for storage.


I do not have a porch on my house so I needed to come up with another greenhouse storage option (other than buying a greenhouse kit and finding an out-of-the-way place to build one).  I have a good sized pergola in my garden, so I decided to utilize it as the frame for my temporary greenhouse.  The pergola has vines across the top so the roof is almost solid, but allows for the occasional rain or snow fail to water plants inside the greenhouse.  Because the pergola top is somewhat open, I cover my plants inside with old sheets only when the temperature is supposed to drop below freezing as an extra measure of protection and hold in more heat.

The supplies I used to create greenhouse walls was a roll of heavy plastic wide enough the go 2 inches above the top of the pergola to a few inches past the pergola floor and long enough to go around the perimeter plus two feet of overlap for an opening, 2 grommet kits, and brass cup hooks. 

The steps I used to create the walls were to:
  1. For top of wall, fold 2 inches down of the plastic on one side to make a thicker surface for the grommets to go into. 
  2. Then put grommets ½ inch below top fold, about every 10 inches around that as the way to hand the top of the wall.
  3. Decide which corner of pergola should have the opening and start putting cup hooks every 10 inches into the top of pergola frame all around it. 
  4. Hang the plastic wall from the cup hooks at start point for opening.  Note:  If holes for overlap to create door/opening do not match the existing cup hook placement, merely add additional cup hooks to insure it hangs tightly around the top.
  5. Secure the bottom of the plastic wall by placing bricks over the extra plastic at bottom to hold it down tightly when the wind blows. 
It took me a full day to create the greenhouse the first time.  Now it only takes a little over an hour to put it up and move my plants into the pergola.  I have used the plastic walls for several years.  

To store the wall, I take down the plastic and rinse it off in my yard.  After it dries, I put it into a bag that keeps it rolled up in my garage until I need it again.  The bricks come from a walkway in my garden so I just return them to the sections I took several from.  I re-use the cup hooks in the pergola to hold chimes and decorative garden items each year during the season the wall is down.  I put those decorative items in my small garden shed when the plastic walls are up.

These are the makeshift greenhouses me and my grandmother used.  Perhaps these ideas will help you come up with your own solution to winterize your plants.

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