Canadian Woman Up-Cycles Old School Buses into Greenhouses


Building a backyard greenhouse will allow everyone to grow his/her own favorite vegetables, flowers, and herbs all year long. This is a structure that produces a microclimate ideal for plant growth. Building a greenhouse can be a large project to tackle, however, it can be done on a low budget by using many ideas of doing it, such as:

  1. Solar Heated Greenhouse Plan
  2. Rustic Window Greenhouse
  3. Hybrid Hobby Greenhouse
  4. Old Window Greenhouse
  5. Portable Greenhouse
  6. Waterproof UV-Protected Greenhouse
  7. Durable Hobby Greenhouse
  8. High Tunnel Walk-In Garden Greenhouse Kit
  9. Walk-In Indoor/Outdoor Greenhouse
  10. Flower Bed Greenhouse and others

Greenhouses are usually made of hardwood or metal paired with glass. Before building a greenhouse, it is important to choose a location, structure, covering materials, constructing the frame, planning – planting conditions for the plants that will be you grown, having a steady water supply, and construct raised beds inside.

Mobile Greenhouses

However, Doni Rae Franklin from Alberta, Canada skipped many of these processes by choosing old school buses for her greenhouses, which are cheaper and stronger than most greenhouses. Additionally, those kinds of greenhouses can be mobile and moved from place to place.

Her family converted two buses last winter (one with the 72 and another with 32-passenger seats) into greenhouses, of which the smaller one is drivable. They cut off the roof from the windows up from the larger one, replacing it with polyethylene plastic, while the smaller bus only has skylights installed. All seats are removed, but the windows are still usable in order to open them when the weather is warmer.

They used the recycled roof tin to make their planting beds to avoid having any wood in direct contact with the soil.

To make the greenhouse strong they fitted the roof with a double layer of 6 mm poly, taking strips of soft plastic, and stapled them along the piped ribs.

Planting beds were installed after the floor of the busses were painted with pavement sealer to help prevent them from rusting due to humid conditions. They use portable propane heaters inside the buses for the nights, and they are planning to install permanent natural gas heaters in the fall.

The beds are now watered with a garden hose, but Franklins are working on installing drip irrigation, while the ventilation is easy to control by opening windows as needed.

Since the smaller bus is mobile, they might use it as a good marketing tool in the future and for transporting the fresh produce to farmer’s markets in town.

For everybody who is interested to make his/her greenhouse that would be a great idea, but there are some additional tips that should be known:

–           Seasonal Starting Seeds – knowing to extend growing seasons, getting an early start on spring and summer and even growing certain vegetables all year round

–           Light Sources – During late Spring and Summer, any Swallow or Elite greenhouse should be getting enough natural light for the plants. LED grow lights and high output fluorescent lamp strips are amongst the most popular lighting products that can be used for this purpose.

–           Heating we recommend using electric heaters as they are easier to install, more economical, and have a wider range of applications. Gas heaters and ventilation systems work just as well but tend to be less economical.

–           Cooling – cooling down a greenhouse that has become too hot is far harder than heating a greenhouse that is too cool, why is very important to regularly measure the temperature inside the greenhouse

–           Watering the Plants – watering plants according to a set schedule can be a mistake. Watering depends on a number of variables, such as temperature, humidity, and the growth stage of the plants themselves.


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