A Wisconsin couple turned discarded windows and doors into a greenhouse for organic plants.

By Ginger Crichton and Ginger Crichton
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Nate and Kendra Collar’s hobby homestead @collaracres in Wisconsin reflects their passion for recycling, upcycling and all things organic. Their latest project: a DIY greenhouse.

“Our upcycled greenhouse is complete, thanks to my talented husband who made my dream a reality,” says Kendra. “Years of saving and storing old windows and doors finally paid off.”

Courtesy of Kendra Collar/@collaracres on Instagram
Courtesy of Kendra Collar/@collaracres on Instagram

The couple used about nine windows and one set of patio doors made into windows for the greenhouse. “One of the larger windows a family member told us about on the side of the road, and my husband and I drove over an hour to go pick it up,” Kendra recalled. “A couple were from people on Craigslist who just wanted them gone.”

She purchased a vintage 80-year-old door for the greenhouse for $15 — “well worth the price,” she says.

Nate took Kendra’s idea for the greenhouse and made it a reality, with 6x6 reclaimed timbers for the frame, clear Lexan polycarbonate to fill in gaps between windows and doors, and Unistrut metal frames to support clear roof panels.

Courtesy of Kendra Collar/@collaracres on Instagram
Courtesy of Kendra Collar/@collaracres on Instagram

The new greenhouse is about 8 feet by 16 feet with an L-shaped raised bed inside for vegetable seeds and a ceiling hanger for flower baskets. Kendra is looking forward to moving her seeds from her home to the greenhouse!

“Everything we eat is grown organically, and some seeds I start in the house, which eventually takes over the house (goodbye, dining room table!) until it's planted in late May,” she says. “This includes fun tomato varieties, peppers, cucumbers, herbs, onions, carrots, lettuce, spinach, kale, pumpkins, watermelon, squash, and numerous flower varieties.

“This year we'll have Black Nebula carrots which will be a deep purple, along with a completely white pumpkin variety that our toddler (and friends/family with kids) will be able to paint, since he's still too young to carve.”

Also on the property is a cottage-style white-and-purple chicken coop designed by Kendra and built by her husband and father. Next up: Converting a back field to a wildflower field.

The chicken coop looks like a tiny home in the front and has an enclosure in the back.
Courtesy of Kendra Collar/@collaracres on Instagram

“I have chickens that lay rainbow-colored eggs and have a passion for organically grown food,” Kendra says. “Our hobby homestead is not our livelihood, although down the road I dream of opening a stand or selling at farm markets. I have so much respect for people who farm on a large scale. For now, we give extra plants that I grow from seed as well as extra produce to friends and family. A lot we freeze or store. The dogs and chickens eat pretty well around here, too. They especially love the abundance of peas, cucumbers, and tomatoes. I also enjoy flowers and planting long rows of them staggered in the garden and fields.”

A naturally hued rainbow of eggs from the Collars' chickens
Courtesy of Kendra Collar/@collaracres on Instagram
Heirloom tomatoes.
Courtesy of Kendra Collar/@collaracres on Instagram
Courtesy of Kendra Collar/@collaracres on Instagram

Follow Kendra and Nate’s story @collaracres on Instagram.