A hoop house is a great addition to your garden that can extend your warm temperature vegetables gardening a month longer and earlier during the season. It can protect your plants from excessive rain, wind, and increase the temperature around 5-10 degrees (and more). Most hoop houses are made from PVC, which is inexpensive. It does not have temperature regulators like a green house does, but can be put up within an hour. You can choose to build either a mini hoop house that will protect a raised garden bed, or a large walk in hoop house that can house a variety of plants.
Building a mini hoop house
What you need:
- ½ inch PVC pipes (measured and cut according to size of bed – read below)
- Plastic covering (measured to cover the whole bed and two sides.
- Plastic pipe clips (to hold plastic covering)
- Determine the location of your mini hoop house. This can be an existing raised bed or one that you will build new. As always make sure that the site you choose has good drainage and plenty of sunlight
- You will need ½ inch PVC pipes measured according to the size of the garden bed you are placing it on.
- Measure the length and width of the bed.
- The length of the pipes required = 2 x the width of the bed + 2 feet (to anchor the pipes into soil). You may want to add extra length if you have an existing bed that has tall plants.
- Example: a raised bed with 3 feet width needs 6 feet long PVC pipes
- Purchase enough PVC pipes to cover the length of the bed with a spacing of 3 to 4 feet between pipes.
- Example: for a hoop house 9 feet long, you will need either 3 or 4 PVC pipes.
- To install the mini hoop house, push the PVC pipes about 1 foot deep into the soil across the bed at spacing of 3-4 feet apart to form an arc over the bed.
- The cover the structure you\’ve built with perforated plastic covering and secure them with plastic pipe clips over the ½ inch PVC pipes, making sure the covering is tout enough.
- Fold the ends of the plastic and weigh it down with a brick, rock or sandbag to secure. You can excess the mini hoop house through these ends. If the temperature in the hoop house gets too high during the day, open the ends to allow ventilation.
Tip: If the mini hoop house is too long for you to reach in and water your plants, consider installing drip irrigation across the length of the bed. This will make watering your plants easy.
Building a large walk in hoop house
The below tools and materials is for construction of a hoop house with a foot print of 10 feet by 21 feet.
What you need:
Total amounts of PVC pipe to purchase:
- 5 10\’-lengths of 1/2″ PVC (cut into 16 pieces /30-inch lengths to be use for stakes)
- 19 10\’-lengths of 3/4″ PVC (cut into 16 /10-foot lengths to be use for ribs)
Note: Make sure that these ½” pipe fits inside the 3/4″ pipe before you purchase them at the store
- 11\’ of 1″ poly pipe cut into 16 pieces at 8-inch length per piece for clips
- 7 x 3/4-inch light duty PVC pipe (34-inch lengths) to be used for ridgeline
- 2 x 3/4-inch PVC tee connector (3-way)
- 6 x 3/4-inch PVC cross connector (4-way)
- one 20\’x25\’ sheet of clear visqueen-type plastic (do not use green house plastic
- optional 8 x 1/2-inch PVC pipe (12-inch lengths) to reinforce joints
- optional 1 x 10\’x25\’ sheet of clear plastic – for ends
- optional 12 x large binder clips
- rubber mallet
- utility knife
- 25\’ tape measure
- drill with 5/8″ spading bit (optional for reinforcement)
Image credit: Maine Coast Semester/Flickr
- Mark out the foot print of the hoop house on your chosen location. In this guide we are measuring for a 10 feet by 21 feet hoop house with a 7 feet overhead clearing. Modify the numbers as according to your desire.
Tip: To make sure that your foot print is parallel and square, measures the distance across diagonally (one opposing end to the other diagonally). These measurements should be the same.
- Drive in the ½ inch PVC stakes into the ground every 36 inches along the length of the foot print.
- The separate hoops first should be put in place first before you connect the ridge. The two end hoops are made of two 10\’ lengths of 3/4″ PVC that is joined together with a PVC tee EACH. The remainder six hoops between these two end hoops use the PVC crosses instead of PVC tees.
Tip: If you want to be able to move the hoophouse around the garden, do not glue the joints together. Dry fit them and use a rubber mallet to snug up the connections.
- Optional step: If you wish to reinforce the joints above insert a 1-foot length of 1/2″ PVC through the 3/4″ PVC tee (this is why you should try it out first before you purchase them). You may find that you have to drill out the PVC crosses in one direction. Do this with a 5/8″ spading bit, making sure that you clamp the cross down before drilling it out.
- Slide the two ends of each hoop over the 1/2″ PVC stakes (it would be handy to have a helper when you do this)
- Connect the ridgeline starting from the top using the 34-inch sections of 3/4″ PVC.
- Use a rubber mallet to secure each section into the connectors.
Covering the hoop house
With the frame finished, the next step is to secure the sheeting. Use 8-inch lengths of 1-inch black poly pipe slit lengthwise and secure them with clips onto the PVC frame (or with large binder clips you can purchase at an office supply store).
The clips and binders are secured at the end of the plastic sheets (ie., near the foot of the hoop frame, not at the top – you may lose them if it becomes too windy)
You can make optional end covers for the hoop house with two 10\’x12.5\’ clear plastic sheets and lay it over one end hoop of the PVC hoop house with the 10\’ measurement on the vertical plane. Make sure that there is at least one foot of plastic in access to the ground and then secure them with poly clips and large binder clips. To make a door, cut a slit down the middle of the plastic end. Then repeat at the other end of the hoop house. Secure these end doors with bricks by placing them over the extra foot of door on the ground.
And there you have your very own hoop house that will be able to house lots of warm weather vegetables and plants like tomatoes, peppers and more
Roger Doiron; Home Sweet Hoophouse : http://www.kitchengardeners.org/hoophouse.html
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