Saturday, December 27, 2008

Build an Easy 5 x 5 Greenhouse for under $25
See detailed step-by-step instructions at

Cold Frames & Greenhouses by The Pond Plant Girl
Gail M. Gates 11/08

A 4' x 6' greenhouse like this one can cost $329.00 or more! The best price I have found for a decent small greenhouse is at Harbor Freight and Tools online and costs $329 for a 4 x 6 foot Plexiglas and aluminum structure. This is actually an impressive greenhouse for the price. For those of you who live in snow country, this is the way to protect your winter plants. Heating a greenhouse such as this one is another challenge and will be covered in future articles. However, there are affordable options such as a hot wire to keep off the snow pack and a small pellet stove to keep the air temperature above freezing. In extreme cold climates, not all water garden plants can be wintered over in a greenhouse and a few will need to be brought indoors and placed in a bright window in a hydroponics container.

A 5' x 5' Cold Frame costs only = $20.50

If you live in zone 7-8 and above where the temperature rarely sees the freezing point, then a cold frame will support your pond plant needs well. The photo to the left was a cold frame that I constructed by myself in one day. This one is 10' long x 5' wide. The 3.5 mil thick plastic was attached with zip ties and came in a box at Home Depot containing a 25' long x 10' wide sheet. Be sure to slice small holes for rain drainage. If you live in a cold winter region, I would suggest using 6 mil thick plastic for your cold frame. This type of cold frame will not withstand a snow pack unless Plexiglas is used. I plan to construct a smaller 5' x 5' cold frame (with instructions below) for my kiddie pool pond.

What You Need for One 5' x 5' Cold Frame / Greenhouse

☼ 1/2" PVC Pipe

☼ 1/2" Corner Elbow Connectors

☼ 1/2" pvc Adapters
☼ Scissors
☼ Long Zip Ties
☼ Hack Saw or Pipe Cutter
☼ Visquene or Plastic Sheeting 6' x 6', 3.5 mil (6 mil is ideal) Thin clear plastic will not withstand past one season.

Putting it Together - Here's the good news! I was able to construct this cold frame all on my own and you can too! See Video

Assemble the pipe on a dry surface in a well ventilated area, such as a patio or driveway.

Cut 2 of the 10' sections of PVC pipe in half, making a total of 4 - 5' sections of pipe.

Swipe the inside of the elbow pieces and the ends of the PVC pipe with the purple primer. Do not swipe the inside of the threaded elbows.

After the primer dries, attach the elbows to the ends of the two 5' section of pipe with the PVC cement.

Attach the 10' section of pipe to the unthreaded end of an elbow with PVC cement and press down firmly.

After the cement will dries within a few minutes, carefully bend the 10' section of pipe and attached to the other unthreaded end of the 5' section of pipe with cement. Leverage might be needed to bend the pipe, such as leaning up against a wall to prevent slipping while bending the pipe.

Your basic end-piece shape should look like this!

Repeat steps 3-6 for the other end of your cold frame.

Lay down the cold frame end on the plastic sheeting and cut out the end piece to attach. Be sure to leave at least 6 inches overlap. Allow for corners to be cut out in an L and pleat curve side. Only cut pleats about half way into the sheeting. Do not cut all the way down to the pipe line. See pattern below.
Attach the plastic sheeting to the frame with zip ties starting with the straight edge. Be sure to tuck plastic around the pipe. Slice small holes through plastic close to the frame. Pull ties tight and trim tails. Repeat all the way around the frame.

Screw in threaded adapters to threaded elbow ends

Attach the remaining 5 foot sections of pipe to the adapters to complete the frame.

Cover frame with remaining plastic sheeting and cut to size.

Attach sheeting to frame ends with zip ties from top of frame to half way down. This will allow for access to the inside ofyour cold frame and will allow for airflow on windy days.

Edges of plastic sheeting can be weighed down with metal washers or clamped to frame.

To keep your frame from blowing over in the wind, anchor it down with camp tent spikes.

Slice small holes in top of cold frame plastic to prevent rain water from puddling.

A small cold frame can be assembled in 1-2 hours. Cover your garden or pond to keep plants warm on cold winter days and nights.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Touring Southwest Aquatics with Gail!!

Hi all,

I had a fan-tastic day at the Southwest Aquatics. While there I was able to show you some really beautiful, healthy plants.

The day was absolutely beautiful and being out there with the plants just makes Spring more of a reality. I know I am ready and itching to get my hands dirty!

I have done business with Southwest Aquatics for a good ten (10) years and I want to tell you that I have seen only the finest in top quality, healthy plants.

Patrick Haynes, our host at the nursery, was very accommodating to me and I really do appreciate that and thank him very much.

Until next time, Happy Ponding!!!


Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Wow! Ants! Upside-down tomato gardens! Come see!

Hello everyone;

Wow! I've got so much to tell you! I am so excited about all that has been going on with the show! Episode #8 was too much fun I could barely stand it! It was all about ants and why I am afraid of them. You'll learn how to get rid of those pesky boogers naturally with a recipe that will make them literally POP! It's safe and cheap too, because you can get all the ingredients from the grocery store for under 5 bucks.
Upside-down tomato gardens are the latest thing, and Episode #9 is on how to make one of your very own. Come join me and see how you can make a creative garden and have a ton of fun too!
Happy Gardening! Happy Ponding!


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

EXPLODING ants and other exciting things for you to see!!

Hello my wonderful viewers, Gail your pond plant girl here;

I am so sorry to not have been more current on here, but I have had so many exciting things going on and I have just been in a whirl. There are a lot of things that I have planned for us to do and see.

The next episode is going to show Exploding Ants using organic matter, nothing harmful to you, your lawn, or the atmosphere. Join us and see what we got for you there.

We are planning a trip to Georgia this coming June. We plan on filming some wonderful and informative things for your there.

We may also be able to show some wonderful things nature has made for us to share. More on that in the next blog.


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

((( PATTI You Have WON STARBUCKS! ! ! )))

. . .and I bet you didn't even know!

This week's winner of the Myspace Pond Pics is PATTI ! ! ! Yeah!!! Patti has won a $5 Starbucks Card. See Patti's pond photo below. (I don't know if it is her pond, but I like it!) I'll be showing off Patti's garden this week on the show.

This week's episode of The Pond Plant Girl will be about growing
water lotus from seed and about mosquito control. oooo! Don't miss it!

Also... be sure to check out my new cheap pond on my myspace page.

Happy Ponding!!!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

((( The FUTURE of The PondPlant Girl and YOU!!! )))

What started out as an idea to sell aquatic plants has developed into a pretty fun and cool show! Now, I am promoting other peoples businesses and filiming my garden show each week. I'm looking for a good videographer right now. Can't depend on Dad for everything! I've got some cool connections in Hollywood, and it looks like when the show is more solid and successful, that I will be able to get some backing and be able to interview celibrities and their gardens!

Yeah! Pretty cool. Anyway, everything is at ground level right now, so if you know of anyone who is interested in getting involved, I have lots of fun things to do. I keep telling all my "staff" that I will cut them a check once I am paid! I know I will be paid some day soon. My goal is to be on the local news before the end of the year and start shooting shows with celebrities by next year.

It's all fun!

Thanks so much,


Thursday, February 28, 2008

Best of Seaside Gardens

First Flower of the Season

Here is my first flower of the 2008 season! Tomorrow will be February 29 and it was nearly 80 degrees today in California. My poor family in Ohio are shivering cold!

Happy Ponding!

Thanks to New Staff!!!

Thank you to my daughter Kjaere (picture above & on my friend's list) who did ALL the great video work on Episode 4 . She looks a lot like Mom, huh?

Episode 4 of The PondPlant Girl is all ready and on YouTube! There are lots of other YouTube gardening videos on the site too. I even learned a thing or two!

Check it out.

The PondPlant Girl

((( Episode 4 ))) Seaside Gardens

We are already on Episode 4, WOW! We toured Seaside Gardens in Carpinteria, California; which is episode one of the Southern California series. This episode is the beginning of our big-time videos. So, things are looking hot! Now the website has lots of videos for your ponding delight.

The future of The PondPlant Girl will include

+ Creating a simple backyard water garden

+ What not to buy

+ Where to get free plants!

Check out The prices are great and they also have some other cool stuff going on; like a search for water garden stores near you.

Happy Ponding!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Tucking Your Plants in At Night

Unexpected Cold:
Now that spring is just around the corner, everyone is tempted to start planting. However, there are still those little unexpected cold snaps that come along. For the ponder, that means paying special attention to plants, such as water hyacinth, that grows great during the day but suffers when unprotected during the evening cold. Even though the temperatures might only get down to 40 degrees at night, frost can still form high upon the rooftops. This is a sign to pay special attention to plants left outside. If left uncovered, the more tropical-like plants will begin to brown and might not survive.

There is an easy solution to this.
If you are not able to house your plants or bring them inside at night, simply cover your container pond with a towel or a sheet. DO NOT USE PLASTIC. While cotton absorbs moisture, plastic traps it in against your sensitive plants. My mother covered her plants with plastic and lost every single one. And, that was when the temps were above freezing! When I lived in Tahoe (one of the coldest urban environments out there) I covered my pond plants with cotton sheets and they did just fine.

Plant care and pre-spring temperature is tricky. But for now while the weather is in transition, remember to tuck your tropicals in at night.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Pond Plant Girl Show ONLINE

It's Fantastic News!
I have had a fantabulous response to The PondPlant Girl Show! It's quickly growing and I want to include ALL my ponding friends here on myspace. Next month I am going off location and interview a florist who also has beautiful healthy house plants. We'll find out her secret then! (Only because I want to be better than her.)

The PondPlant Girl is Online! Mark your favorite's list and watch for more episodes every Friday night at 9:00 pm. Tell a Friend! We are doing some fun stuff too.

Happy Ponding!!!