How to Repurpose Your Old Refrigerator into a Greenhouse

How to Repurpose Your Old Refrigerator into a Greenhouse

Have you got an old, broken down refrigerator sitting around collecting dust? Before you call to have it hauled away, consider repurposing it as a miniature greenhouse! Converting a discarded fridge into a functional greenhouse is an easy, environmentally friendly DIY project. With just a few modifications and accessories, you can create a controlled growing space to start seeds, grow herbs, or nurture delicate plants.

Benefits of Repurposing a Refrigerator into a Greenhouse

Turning an old fridge into a greenhouse offers many advantages:

  • Sustainability: Repurposing a fridge gives it new life and keeps it out of the landfill. Reusing or recycling materials is better for the environment than discarding them.

  • Temperature control: Refrigerators are designed to maintain steady interior temperatures. This makes them ideal structures for greenhouses where consistent warmth is needed for plant growth.

  • Compact size: Refrigerator greenhouses take up very little floor space compared to traditional greenhouse structures. This allows them to fit in small indoor areas or outdoor patios.

  • Portability: A repurposed refrigerator greenhouse can be easily moved around on casters or wheels. You can shift it to follow sunlight patterns or transport it between indoor and outdoor locations.

  • Affordability: Turning an old fridge into a greenhouse is inexpensive compared to purchasing and constructing a conventional greenhouse. The major costs are paint, casters, and accessories.

  • Customization: With a little creativity, you can modify a refrigerator greenhouse to suit your unique needs and style. Add shelves, hooks, grow lights or anything else to make it functional for you.

How to Convert a Refrigerator into a Greenhouse

Converting an old refrigerator into a greenhouse is a straightforward DIY project. Follow these key steps:

1. Clean and Prepare the Fridge

  • Remove any shelves, drawers, or other interior parts from the fridge.
  • Thoroughly clean and disinfect the interior to create a hygienic environment for plants.
  • Use a mild detergent and warm water solution to scrub away grime and residue.
  • Let all surfaces dry completely before moving on.

2. Create Ventilation

  • Refrigerators are designed to be airtight, so adding ventilation is crucial for a greenhouse.
  • On the back of the fridge, drill a pattern of holes for airflow. Place near the top and bottom.
  • Tip: Cover the holes with mesh screens to prevent insects from getting in while allowing fresh air to circulate.

3. Add a Glass or Plexiglass Door

  • Remove the original fridge door and discard or recycle it.
  • Use an appropriately sized pane of glass or Plexiglass as a see-through replacement door.
  • Attach it securely with a weatherproof seal.
  • Tip: Hinge the door so it opens sideways rather than swinging down to save interior space.

4. Paint the Exterior

  • Paint the fridge’s exterior to make it visually appealing:
  • Light colors work best to reflect sunlight.
  • Choose exterior grade paint designed for metal.
  • Allow paint to fully dry before moving on.

5. Add Casters or Wheels

  • Elevate the fridge by attaching casters or wheels to the bottom.
  • This allows you to easily move it around.
  • Locking casters help keep it stationary when needed.

6. Include Shelves and Racks

  • Install shelves and racks inside to hold pots and organize plants.
  • Sturdy, rust-resistant metal works best.
  • Place them at staggered heights to maximize space.
  • Ensure they don’t block the interior light.

7. Add Grow Lights (Optional)

  • Supplemental grow lights ensure adequate light for plant growth.
  • LED or fluorescent grow lights work well.
  • Mount them to the interior ceiling using hooks or brackets.
  • Place reflective material underneath to maximize light exposure.

Accessories and Add-Ons for Enhancing Your Refrigerator Greenhouse

Here are some optional accessories to take your DIY refrigerator greenhouse to the next level:

  • Mini greenhouse thermometer/hygrometer: Monitors temperature and humidity levels.

  • Small humidifier or dehumidifier: Maintains optimal humidity for your plants’ needs.

  • Outdoor power strip: Safely powers grow lights, humidifier, fans inside the greenhouse.

  • Rechargeable battery-powered fans: Improves air circulation without routing cords.

  • Automatic vent opener: Automatically vents when temperatures get too high.

  • Caster tray or plant caddy: Allows you to roll larger plants in and out.

  • Decorative touches: Chalkboard paint, plant art, twinkle lights, etc. Personalize it!

Tips for Growing Plants in a Repurposed Refrigerator Greenhouse

Follow these tips to successfully grow plants in your converted refrigerator greenhouse:

  • Select compact plants suited for containers like herbs, lettuce greens, or houseplants.
  • Use small pots with drainage holes to prevent overwatering.
  • Locate the greenhouse in a spot that gets ample sunlight daily.
  • Open vents or run fans to prevent excessive heat buildup on sunny days.
  • Monitor humidity levels and adjust them for your plants.
  • Use grow lights to supplement natural sunlight in low light conditions.
  • Fertilize and water plants according to their specific needs.
  • Prune and trim plants as needed to keep them healthy in the confined space.

Get Creative with Your DIY Refrigerator Greenhouse!

Don’t limit yourself to the basics when repurposing an old refrigerator into a greenhouse. Apply your creativity to customize your greenhouse in ways that are both functional and fun. Here are some ideas to spark your imagination:

  • Decorate the exterior with a fresh coat of chalkboard paint for labeling plants or writing messages.
  • Stencil or paint the interior walls with fun plant motifs.
  • Attach wire mesh panels inside to allow climbing vines or hanging pots.
  • Include small decor items like mini solar lanterns or faux greenery for an inviting ambiance.
  • Use magnets to display photos or care instructions for your plants inside.
  • Incorporate found objects like antique drawer pulls for hanging tools or pots.

The possibilities are endless, so put on your thinking cap and create a one-of-a-kind greenhouse you’ll love tending to for years to come!