Harbor Freight Greenhouse - good or bad ??

Natilie70(z8 E Tx)July 10, 2005

What has been the experience with these greenhouses ??

Alum frame and UV treated polycarbonate panels - looks like cardboard and I know that is good.

So - do you like them ?? Or not and why Please.

Seems I can recall people talking about these greenhouses when they were on sale - a long while back.

We were over to one of their places yesterday and the small mock-up looked like it would be a very nice little

unit.

Thanks

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cactusfreak(7)

Just type in Harbour Freight in the search space and you'll get hundreds of opinions.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2005 at 2:41AM
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Vamptoo(7b/8a SC)

I love my Harbor Freight and with all the advice and help from cactusfreak it has become an operating greenhouse. I'm a small person so it's small size is not an issue with me as it might be with others. I never knew 48 sq ft could make me so happy.

Technically now, it holds together really well (once you figure out how to get it together) and was easy to keep the temp I wanted during the winter. At cactusfreaks advice I bought a solar pool cover, hubby put an electric space heater on a thermostat and I had no problems. I chose to put mine under some very tall decidious trees so it gets lots of shade in the summer and that helps with the heat. I don't put too much in there in the summer anyway.

Cindy

    Bookmark   July 11, 2005 at 8:17AM
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Natilie70(z8 E Tx)

Thanks for the info.
We had to go back over there today - now I see they have them on sale $100. off - now $299.
Sounds really good - good enough to grow into. grin.
Still new at all of this.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2005 at 8:03PM
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elle8b

I am happy to report my HF greenhouse stood up to a good bit of wind this weekend. I live in Panama City Beach which was on the east side of Hurricane Dennis. I did not lose even 1 panel. What a great little greenhouse.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2005 at 9:30PM
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tdev_riverbend(7a)

I love my HFGH! I too placed mine under deciduous trees and even here in Northern Virginia where it gets really hot I have shade plants and even some veggies happily growing even now. Remember that the cost of the greenhouse itself is small -- it is all of the "extras" that cost the big money: foundation materials, vents, shade cloth, heater, electricity (if you install), water, cooling, misting, benches, etc.etc. etc. I still think it's worth every penny, and I was able to do more having saved so much on the structure itself. Good luck!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2005 at 8:36PM
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willow22552(z5NY)

An HFGH may be small but I love mine. I had room to grow 60 flats of veggies/flowers. I made all my hanging baskets and enough veggies and flowers to fill my gardens plus three of my friends. I started it up on the first of March with a couple of wal-mart heaters and some bubble wrap and I was good to go. It cost me $20. a month to heat. Yea, I wouldn't give mine up for anything.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2005 at 10:26PM
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morrowsmowers(South Jersey-7)

At present they are on sale for $299.99 and I just received a 10% off certificate for their new store in Philadelphia. If I can time it right I can get one on sale and then an additional discount that will make it a real steal !!! Looks like I might just have convinced myself to go with the HFGH instead of one of those other higher priced units.

Ken & Sue in Glassboro, NJ

    Bookmark   July 18, 2005 at 7:27PM
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luckynky(6 KY)

HF is a good quality GH but a pain in the a** to get together. Directions are not clear at all. I wouldnt do it again, I would build my own.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2005 at 3:51PM
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slaphead(z8 WA)

We've owned ours for a few months and love it. Its on a foundation of 2 by 10 pressure treated wood ($60) to increase the head room with a layer of tar paper between the aluminum and wood to prevent corrosion. We also sealed the polycarbonate panels with polycarbonate tape ($30) to keep out dirt and condensation. In our climate (pacific northwest) this makes a huge difference to the longterm performance of the polycarbonate panels. Adding in a Univent automatic opener ($45) for the roof vent, two bags of heavier duty glazing clips ($20) and the anchoring bolts and plates for the foundation ($20) our total cost for a no compromise, three season, 8 x 6 greenhouse came to $475. If the HFG is large enough for your needs it's price can't be beat.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2005 at 8:14PM
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farslayr

SH - when you say that you sealed the panels with tape - do you mean the open ends? Or taped them down to the frame? Where do you get poly tape? It isn't just clear packing tape is it..?

I'm in Oly, so when I start building mine this fall, I'll give ya a call! ;0)

    Bookmark   July 22, 2005 at 10:41AM
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cottagefarmer(z4b WI)

Several greenhouse supplies dealers sell the aluminum tape for sealing the top side of the glazing panel but you can get this tape at a significant savings if you purchase it from a heating and air conditioning supply house. The tape is not duct tape (which has a plastic base). It is actually a thin sheet of aluminum (like thick aluminum foil) that has an adhesive coated on it. This tape can be used for the bottom edge of the panel, too, but you should punch at least two or three small holes in each cell with a pin to allow humidity to drain out.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2005 at 3:30PM
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slaphead(z8 WA)

Farslayr,

We got our tape from Charlies Greenhouses.

SH

    Bookmark   July 24, 2005 at 2:45AM
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milwdave(Zone5 Milwaukee)

I just finished the framework for 2 that I've bolted together for a longer structure.....The instructions aren't the greatest but for the money you can't beat it.

Dave
Milwaukee
zone 5...IF I'm lucky

    Bookmark   July 24, 2005 at 10:54AM
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roxy77(Houston Z9)

How short is it exactly?

My fiance is 6'4" and he thinks he won't be able to go inside it (which may be true...). I guess we'd have to put a base on it.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2005 at 2:03PM
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cactusfreak(7)

Roxy, the Harbor Freight is 6 1/2ft tall. A lot of people put them on 2x10's to raise them up. You will end up with a threshold you have to step over but no big deal.

Here is a link that might be useful: Harbor Freight

    Bookmark   August 4, 2005 at 2:43AM
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roxy77(Houston Z9)

Thanks Cactus Freak, now I am torn between spending a bit more and getting the Home Enthusiast or the HF. The price is right on the Harbor Freight, so we will probably go in that direction.

good thing finace is good with tools, he can build himself a base.

:)

    Bookmark   August 4, 2005 at 10:53AM
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marbs(z7 western WA)

Here is the link again to my website on my HFGH. It has a couple of pages on construction and adding frills like increased ventilation. And pics of my first year having fun with it.

I love it. I'm thinking of adding a second one.

Here is a link that might be useful: HFGH assembly and extras

    Bookmark   August 4, 2005 at 5:14PM
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roxy77(Houston Z9)

Marbs I have viewed your pics several times and so has Fiance...I keep trying to convince him that he won't have problems putting it together...I guess you might work at Boeing in Seattle? So do we, in Houston. But we don't have a Boeing surplus!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2005 at 10:45AM
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marbs(z7 western WA)

Roxy77,

My husband used to work there,and now he is retired. We still get a discount though.

Tell you hubby that I put mine togethether pretty much by myself. I got stuck once or twice and simply posted my problem and questions on the forum. Folks rushed out to their HFGH's and took pictures and helped me a lot.

After all, if it isn't perfect remember its only a greenhouse. Chances are the plants won't even notice.

marbs

    Bookmark   August 5, 2005 at 10:45PM
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slaphead(z8 WA)

Brightstars,

It's the best 8' x 6' greenhouse you can buy for the money. Why pay twice the price for no more functionality?

SH

    Bookmark   August 6, 2005 at 7:41PM
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roxy77(Houston Z9)

Marbs, thanks...I will tell him. :)

    Bookmark   August 8, 2005 at 4:31PM
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byzr

You should read the 10X12 greenhouse product manual before you buy it, I did.

If you read page 4 of the product manual I wonder why you would grow anything in it or really even walk into it:

  1. WARNING: This product contains or produces a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects (or other reproductive harm). (California Health & Safety Code § 25249.5, et seq.)

You are getting less than what you pay for, spend more and live longer.
Be Wiser.

Here is a link that might be useful: 10 X 12 Harbor Freight Greenhouse Product Manual

    Bookmark   August 9, 2006 at 2:16AM
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idelsonar

it Great !

Here is a link that might be useful: http://www.g3unique.com/home/decor/article/green_house_garden.html

    Bookmark   August 9, 2006 at 2:10PM
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tropicaliste

Ugh, you're totally right about the warning, byzr!

What should I do then? This greenhouse is the most affordable, and I had all the intention to get it, but now I know that it could be dangerous, I'm not so sure!

Anyone's opinions?

    Bookmark   August 10, 2006 at 1:41AM
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consultant

This warning appears on many products. In this case, it is probably from the polycarbonate panels. I'd imagine HF's polycarbonate is the same as most other places use. If you are concerned about it, you probably should get a greenhosue with glass panels. I've seen the California warnings on more and more products recently.

Stuart

"14. WARNING: This product contains or produces a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects (or other reproductive harm). (California Health & Safety Code § 25249.5, et seq.) "

    Bookmark   August 10, 2006 at 12:22PM
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gardenerwantabe

You should never drive a car it could be a hazard to your health.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2006 at 1:08PM
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consultant

I read a little and found that even water bottles made of polycarbonate have the California warning. As I mentioned in my previous post, if you are concerned about it, don't buy ANY greenhouse that uses it! If you buy another polycarbonate greenhouse, instead of the HFGH just because of the warning, you're just wasting your money.

I've had a HFGH for over a year now and love it. I almost didn't get it after reading some of the negative posts about it. I then realized that almost all of them came from people that don't have them! I'm glad I listened to the people that own them, because it is a great little greenhouse.

Stuart

"14. WARNING: This product contains or produces a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects (or other reproductive harm). (California Health & Safety Code § 25249.5, et seq.) "

    Bookmark   August 10, 2006 at 1:23PM
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nathanhurst(VIC Aust)

The warning is in regards to bisphenol-a, a nasty long term poison. However, in a greenhouse environment I believe that the plants will sequester the gas very quickly. Collecting roof runoff is similarly low risk.

Driving your car is far, far greater risk (to the extent that I wonder why people do it).

One possible reason why people who have the HFGH are less critical is that they don't want to appear to have made the wrong decision (I bought it and it was wrong), so subconciously defend their purchase. This behaviour is common in people who have bought an expensive item. (Sure, my car belches smoke and stalls at every set of lights, but I think it has character!) Contrarywise, they may all be quite happy with their purchases.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2006 at 6:21PM
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consultant

Good point. That is possible. People do that with all sorts of things. It's also possible the other way too, though. If someone spent three times as much for a similarly sized greenhouse, they wouldn't want to feel foolish for overspending, so they might bash the HFGH.

In my case I can honestly say that I love my HFGH (6' X 8'). It came with terrible instructions and the door isn't great, but other than that, it is excellent. It seems similar to greenhouses I see in catalogs for much more.

I heated it over the winter and it only cost me $30/month during the coldest months, thanks to a solar pool cover and good insulation. I would never have purchased a greenhouse if it wasn't for the HFGH. The HFGH does what a greenhouse is supposed to do. It gives me a place to grow plants. There have been heavy storms that have blown shingles off or roofs, but my HFGH hasn't had a problem. I did reinforce it some with pieces of aluminum, though.

Stuart

"One possible reason why people who have the HFGH are less critical is that they don't want to appear to have made the wrong decision"

    Bookmark   August 10, 2006 at 8:14PM
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tropicaliste

Thank you for all the bad and good opinions, I think you're right about it being the same with any polycarbonate. I'm still not totally sure, but I think glass is pretty much out of the question, and the price for this does seem fair.
Could you all give me the tips you know for keeping this warm over the winter? I have plants too big for the house.

nathanhurst: It didn't work out for you?

Thanks guys!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2006 at 10:04PM
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nathanhurst(VIC Aust)

glass is heavy and expensive. I use PC. regarding the HFGH, they don't ship to australia, and I wanted to build it myself anyway. So I don't particularly care either way.

To keep your greenhouse warm, insulate the north side with good insulation (this means rigid foam and foil), seal all the gaps well, perhaps put pool cover over the top and use thermal mass to keep in the heat. If that doesn't work, think about some kind of heater. (Not the other way around, or you'll be directly causing global warming ;)

    Bookmark   August 11, 2006 at 11:02PM
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consultant

I used foam, a 4' X 8' foam panel to cover the entire north wall. I then covered half the north roof with a 2' X 8' panel. I covered the bottom of all the other panels with foam as well. I then used foil/bubble wrap stuff that I taped to the panels near the bottowm and wrapped under the gravel floor of my greenhouse. I also wrapped the whole thing in a pool cover. I think the pool cover makes a huge difference.

I also used several large storage containers and lots of gallon and 2 liter bottles for thermal mass.

I was able to use only a single 1500 watt. The coldest my greenhouse got to was almost 50, even when the temperature dropped to near 0.

I just raised my greenhouse up by adding a 2 X 10 frame above the the 2 X 6 frame I already used, so I need to insulate that now.

Stuart

    Bookmark   August 12, 2006 at 9:24AM
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agardenstateof_mind

Ditto for the above:

Foam board insulation - 1" thick, foil faced; I covered the north wall and the north one-third of the east and west walls.

Foil-faced "bubble wrap" along the perimeter of the 2x10 foundation and wrapped under the gravel. (Beneath that is hardware cloth to keep out any critters that might decide this is a good spot to spend the winter.)

Thermal mass (water in 1-gallon milk jugs and some larger containers).

Clear solar pool cover - I wrapped the entire gh in it and had some left over, so cut a few wide strips and hung them, overlapping, inside the doorway to cut down on heat loss there ... it did help.

In addition, I sealed any little gaps in the frame with caulk and put self-adhesive foam weatherstripping tape on the panels.

It took a little while to find a heater I was satisfied with; in the meantime, in early winter, a 500-watt worklight kept the chill at bay. I eventually found a 1500 watt electric convection heater that worked out very well. For emergency backup, we have a small Coleman catalytic heater that runs for several hours on a one-pound propane cylinder.

BTW, I looked at several greenhouses, settled on the Harbor Freight model as a starter, and am very glad that I did. Some day I would like to have a larger one, but on my modest suburban lot, which already holds a garden shed, compost pile, vegetable garden, koi pond/water garden, gazebo, various shrub & perennial beds and trees, it can't be much larger without sacrificing the yard we wish to enjoy.

Best of luck to you ... if you're only half as delighted with yours as I have been with mine, then your money and time will have been well spent.

Diane

    Bookmark   August 12, 2006 at 5:12PM
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eyedaho

Does anyone have pictures of the base installation of the 10'X12' greenhouse. I am building a 10 x 12' foundation of 4"X6" pressure logs and want to attach the base to the inside of this frame with lag bolts. The 6" dimension lays flat so the aluminum base of the greenhouse will attach to the 4" side. The aluminum frame will end up being 1" above the foundation. Will any of the remaining structure (i.e. floor plates or outer frame)be interfered with when I attach the greenhouse base to wood frame? Thanks for your help.

Pat

    Bookmark   March 27, 2008 at 4:53PM
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mudhouse_gw

Hi Pat,
We also used 4x6 pressure treated wood for our base for the 10x12. I have some photos of our foundation in this part of my blog, and maybe it will be helpful:
Part 2: The Foundation

I'll also post back with a list of links to photos of other HFGH 10x12 builds that others here have been kind enough to share; many people have varying approaches to the foundation.
Sheri

    Bookmark   March 28, 2008 at 12:09AM
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mudhouse_gw

Hi again Pat, here are some links to other very helpful threads and websites with photos. I would have been lost without the help from this forum!

Gardenerwantabe's thread on HFGH modifications:
A Guide to the Modifications of 10x12 HFGH
...and a link to his photos:
Gardenerwantabe's HFGH photos

Laserfan's thread, with links to his photos:
HFGH 10x12 Lessons Learned

Oraylawson's thread, with links to his photos:
10x12 HFGH

Troykd's site:
Building our Greenhouse, an Adventure in Pain

Amigatec's site:
How I Built My 10x12 Harbor Freight Greenhouse

Joe Urda's site:
Harbor Freight Greenhouse

Hope this helps,
Sheri

    Bookmark   March 28, 2008 at 12:14AM
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googoo_dahl(3)

Here's the problem I have with this coldframe/greenhouse. It is made in China. That should bring out a lot of red flags. Hazardous materials, fair trade practice, humanrights and Tibet. Americans, your country's economy is going down the drain...it's like a snake eating it's own tail, your speculators on Wall St. keep raising the price of oil, you have an out of touch and moronic president, and no one respects you anymore. SO....time for change buy a greenhouse made in the USA.
I know they HFG are cheap but why not save up a little more $ and buy a greenouse made in USA or Canada or even Europe.
You know the HFG are not going to last.

Here is a link that might be useful: chinese mfg./wholesaler

    Bookmark   March 28, 2008 at 8:49AM
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tom_va

I'm not sure how large the H/F houses are but please read my reply in the "PVC/Cheap Greenhouse" thread that might be on the second page. You may be surprised at how cheap you can get a hoop house.

Regards,

Tom

    Bookmark   March 28, 2008 at 8:23PM
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