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Hydroponic Greenhouse – Build From Scratch, Or Buy A Kit?

Picture this… you just had a bad day at the office, but it’s finally over. The one-hour commute home adds to your stress level. You arrive home to find the house a mess and the kids fighting. Escape! Out back … it’s a gloomy February evening … but … there it is … your oasis… a bright and cheerful hydroponic greenhouse!

Our Beginner’s Guide To Hydroponics is on sale for a short time. Check it out!

hydroponic greenhouse

Do you Need A Hydroponic Greenhouse?

Your ultimate gardener’s goal might well be an outdoor greenhouse. It’s a great thing to shoot for. Lots of room, total climate control, and plenty of nature’s perfect lighting… the sun.

tomatoes growing in a hydroponic greenhouse
When do you need a greenhouse?

When your Hydro systems and enthusiasm have overflowed your house!

Or you’ve become serious about supplying much of your family’s veggie needs yourself.

Look at the expense of a greenhouse as an investment in your family’s health and well-being. Providing significant amounts of high quality, nutritious, safe food is more than just a hobby…

A greenhouse is an ambitious project, for sure. But if you’re serious about gardening, you’ll never regret building one.

With minimal heating and (necessary in some locations) a little supplemental lighting, you can grow tomatoes, peppers, cukes, and melons in the harshest of winter months… now how cool is that?

Before you buy or build a hydroponic greenhouse…

There are some things you must have in order to have a successful hydroponic greenhouse. Can you do the following? 

  • If you don’t have a sunny spot somewhere in your yard, or can’t create one by cutting down some trees, don’t do a hydroponic greenhouse. Ideally, your greenhouse should receive direct sunlight most of the day, through all 4 seasons. If you have to provide most of the light artificially, why bother with a greenhouse?
  • Put it close to your house so you can easily hook up to power and running water. If you live in an urban area, put a greenhouse on your rooftop or patio and be the envy of your neighbors!
  • Ventilation is very important. Vents and exhaust fans are a crucial element in any greenhouse plan. Add a thermostat to automate the system.
  • Greenhouse gardening has always been popular with northern gardeners. But it is just as useful in the tropic and semi-tropic areas (Florida). The
    problem? Cooling it off in the summer. Solution: shade-cloth, fans, and even misters.
  • Ever wonder how a greenhouse works? We explain the principles behind “the greenhouse effect” here.
  • Learn how to cheaply make yours a passive solar greenhouse.
  • Maybe you want to start with a hydroponic grow tent kit.

Could I afford a hydroponic greenhouse?

Do you have to spend a lot of money to have a hydroponic greenhouse? No! There are inexpensive materials and free plans that could have you up and growing for a couple of hundred dollars.

Or you can spend thousands of dollars if you want a true “glass house” that will last for generations to come.

Or you could opt for a reasonably priced greenhouse kit that is extremely productive and could be up and growing in a couple of days!

So, build your own from scratch or order a kit?


If you’re good with a hammer and saw, plan and build your own greenhouse. Do a web search for “greenhouse plans” and explore the possibilities (Amazon has some books on building greenhouses here).

You’ll be proud of your own construction, and it will provide 10-20 years of hydroponic gardening; longer if you use pressure-treated wood.

Just make sure you follow the local zoning laws and get a building permit first, especially if you use a concrete slab.

Build your own greenhouse with these tips.

Greenhouse kits

Solexx Conservatory Greenhouse 16' X 20' X 9'6Solexx Conservatory Greenhouse 16′ X 20′ X 9’6Amazon buy buttonBest Choice Products 15x7x7ft Walk-in Greenhouse Tunnel Tent Gardening Accessory w/Roll-Up Windows, Zippered Door, GreenBest Choice Products 15x7x7ft Walk-in GreenhouseAmazon buy buttonMELLCOM 20' x 10' x 7' Greenhouse Large Gardening Plant Hot House Portable Walking in Tunnel Tent, WhiteMELLCOM 20′ x 10′ x 7′ Greenhouse Amazon buy buttonPalram HG5008 Mythos Hobby Greenhouse, 6' x 8' x 7'Mythos Hobby Greenhouse, 6′ x 8′ x 7′Amazon buy buttonMini Walk in Green House with Window and Anchor Plant Garden Hot HouseMini Walk in Green House with Window and Anchor Plant GardenAmazon buy buttonSolexx Garden Master Greenhouse 8' X 8' X 8' 9Solexx Garden Master Greenhouse 8′ X 8′ X 8′ 9Amazon buy button

There’s an ever-increasing array of pre-fab, hobby-style greenhouse kits on the market.

Kit greenhouses are a great option if you want a sturdy, well-designed, field-tested, and simple to erect structure.

Think they cost too much? A word of caution here. If you plan to design and build your own greenhouse, take the time to draw up complete plans and a detailed parts list, down to the last screw.

Don’t forget to add the extra costs to hire your carpenter neighbor if you’re not a DIY lover.

Next, get over to Home Depot and price everything out. You may be surprised to find that the costs of all the materials and hired labor are pretty close to a comparable kit… Precut, color-coded, and delivered to your doorstep.

A controlled lab…

Are you a control freak? A greenhouse allows you total control over the climate. You can create the “perfect growing environment”. A greenhouse lends itself well to experimentation, too.

Create your own ultimate automated food factory… with a hydroponic greenhouse.

Sometimes we enjoy planting small, soil-based gardens in the height of summer when the greenhouse is just a mite too hot. If you want to keep your Green Thumb in the soil too, we recommend the Square Foot Gardening method.

FAQ about hydroponic greenhouses

What can you grow in a hydroponic greenhouse?

You can grow most vegetables, herbs, and some fruits in a hydroponic greenhouse. Tomatoes, peppers, green beans, and cabbage are just a few of the vegetables that will thrive in a greenhouse. Strawberries love it in this environment, and so do basil, dill, mint, and other herbs.

How much does a hydroponic greenhouse cost?

Building a hydroponic greenhouse is not cheap. If you DIY everything, you might be able to do it for $2500 for a fairly small greenhouse hydroponic system. But if you want a nice, big setup, it can cost as much as $25,000.

Of course, you can do something in the middle and feed your family for years to come from your medisum-sized setup.

Is it cheaper to build or buy a greenhouse?

While it might be tempting to think that building your own greenhouse will be cheaper, you really need to sit down and calculate every detail of your desired greenhouse/hydroponic system, including labor. In the end, it might actually be cheaper to buy a kit (of course, if you want something custom-made, you’ll need to go for the DIY and pay whatever it costs to get your wish).

Hydroponic greenhouse - build from scratch, or buy a kit?

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Stella and Simon, a couple of back-to-the-land, baby boomer enthusiasts, have embraced the world of homemade hydroponics on their three-acre plot of Florida piney woods. Their journey began after drawing inspiration from Epcot Center’s hydroponics exhibit, and they've delved into various hydroponic methods, experimenting with different systems, configurations, and crops both indoors and outdoors. Their expertise culminated in the creation of an innovative homemade hydroponics greenhouse, documented in their book, Simon’s Super Simple On-the-Grid, Off-the-Grid Hydroponic/Aquaponic Survival Greenhouse.

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