Converting retired school buses into RVs and tiny houses has become increasingly popular lately. In a time of economic uncertainty, they are more appealing by the day. For their low cost and super mobility. But now a woman from Alberta, Canada has found another innovative use for them.
The greenhouse is a great way to help provide food for yourself or others year-round. Growing year-round in colder climates isn’t possible without them!! Greenhouses are a great way to extend the growing season and protect crops from harsh weather but they can be very expensive, depending on what material you use to make them. Plastic is relatively affordable, but isn’t very durable in strong winds, and has to be replaced every couple of years.
With their steel-ribbed frames and siding, school buses are known for their virtual indestructibility, and, they can be purchased super cheap. For as low as a couple of hundred dollars if you’re lucky.
Doni Rae Franklin and her family have now converted two of them! Turning them into amazing food growing machines!! Doing it for a fraction of the cost of a glass or hard-plastic (polycarbonate) greenhouse. Not to mention with a whole lot more charm!
The first thing they did was rip out all of the seats. Then they cut off the roof from the windows up, replacing it with polyethylene plastic. That leaves the only replacing the roof yearly instead of siding too.
The recycled the tin roof into planter boxes, which they expect to withstand rot better than wood boxes.
And, another bonus, when the weather is warmer they can easily open up the windows to let it ventilate and cool down.
The larger of the two buses is immobile as the drive-train was removed for another project, but the short bus still drives, allowing Doni Rae to take her to produce to the farmers’ market and deliver a whole new level of freshness!
The smaller bus only has skylights installed, rather than the whole roof cut off, allowing her to plant crops without such a high light requirement. It makes growing much more versatile and they can produce a larger variety.
“As I’ve been getting more and more into commercial gardening, I’ve realized that these greenhouses are the best way to achieve a reliable harvest, stopping things like frost and hail from taking a toll,” Franklin says.
She says if she ever gets time to custom build more greenhouse buses for people she’d charge about $8000 per bus, which is still about half what it would cost to build a traditional greenhouse that size.
Her original post about the bus went viral back in 2016 and is now making its rounds again as more and more people become interested in growing their food.