CREATIVE: Krista Bjorn has used hay bales and some old windows from the Allora tip to create a cheap and efficient greenhouse.
CREATIVE: Krista Bjorn has used hay bales and some old windows from the Allora tip to create a cheap and efficient greenhouse. Krista Bjorn

Building a greenhouse bale by bale

I'VE wanted a greenhouse for a long time but could never seem to fit it into a budget already filled to bursting with necessities like fencing materials and hay for the goats.

So I was very excited when I read about a straw bale greenhouse.

It's a clever and inexpensive idea that works a treat. I made mine a simple rectangular structure using straw bales from the produce store and old glass windows I picked up from the Allora dump.

The thick straw forms insulated walls for the structure that keep the greenhouse warm and free from harsh winds.

The glass window panes are laid across the top and provide plenty of light while protecting from winter frosts.

The windows also provide modest watering through the condensation that accumulates on the underside of the glass and drips down onto the plants below.

On particularly warm days I lift up the glass window frames to keep the greenhouse from getting too hot, and just make sure to remember to lay them down again before night falls.

I also raise the glass on those precious rainy days to take every advantage of the plant nourishing rain.

The rest of the time I have all the plants set in shallow trays to make watering easier and consistent.

So far the straw bale greenhouse has worked brilliantly.

I filled mine with frost sensitive plants like lilly pilly, turmeric, a tea plant and bougainvillea.

I'm also experimenting with a few chillies, capsicums, and tomatoes to see if I can keep them going through the winter. So far, so good.

I'm looking forward to starting my spring seedlings early in the greenhouse, excited to see if they germinate quicker and grow faster.

While a straw bale greenhouse could be built on any level surface, I have mine within a fenced enclosure to protect it from our herd of Kalahari Red goats.

A house of straw filled with green veggies and fruit would be far too tempting for them.

Do you have a greenhouse? I'd love to hear any tips you have for making the most of it.

Read more self-sufficiency tips on Krista's online blog Rambling Tart - www.ramblingtart.com