Saturday, June 06, 2009

Hoop House Heaven

PrimRozie has got me all obsessed about hoop houses. We are finally getting some much needed rain (just in time since yesterday my husband and I put the corn gluten fertilizer on the lawn and our dogs have been fussing about going out to eat it!!), so instead of spending the morning in my garden, I have been scouring the web for info on hoop houses. They seem very simple and I have been wanting to build one. This year it might just happen now that I have both raised beds built - now I can just put the hoop house right over both of them and have a path down the middle!

Most of the designs that I found were pretty similar. And being the Scot/German that I am, I immediately was thinking of ways to improve the design and make the plans more efficient. It took me about an hour for my epiphany - instead of building a spine to keep the PVC poles in place, why not sew a spine? The tent I bring camping doesn't use a separate spine, the poles feed through tunnels sewn into the tent to keep them where they are supposed to be and they themselves are the spine. Why not do the same for the hoop house, 'cause what is a hoop house but a tent, right? And I not only sew, but I still have a spool of plastic thread from when I made a bunch of tomato cage covers (mini green houses! If I make them again, I will post the plans - VERY EASY; even for non-sewers).

Here are the most interesting hoop house sites I found:

How to Build a PVC Hoophouse for your Garden at The Westside Gardener
This has great pictures and walks you through the entire process, including a materials and tools list! (the website needs some attention, but it is still very informative).

Home Sweet Hoophouse or How to Change Gardening Zones without Leaving Your Own Backyard at Kitchen Gardeners International.
This article had great pictures showing people actually putting one together. Not much in the way of a step by step, but does offer some advice for fortifying based on use experience.

Hoop House I from the Utah State University Extension
A fantastic video (41min) about the university's trials with their hoop houses. It gives a fairly thorough explanation about the structures they have built as well as the potential uses for the structures. I took the most notes from this video. Good stuff!

AND once your done watching that video, check out some of the other similar videos YouTube suggests! Larks Hoop House is quick and descriptive - but as a disclaimer, that accent sounds more Minnesotan than Wisconsin!

[and just as a cool find I found this. Science geeks and off-the-grid dreamers will LOVE this!!]

I've been taking notes and making drawings all morning. Hopefully I will be able to get one built this summer for use this fall. I can't wait!


joey said...

Lots of good stuff happening here ... a fun site! Thanks for stopping by and saying hello.

Sylvana said...

Thanks Joey! Glad to see you here!

Lynn said...

Whoopsie. Didn't know I got ya all cranked up ;)

I love the hoop house, but hubby and I disagreed on how to use it. In my opinion, he should have just let me do it MY way.

I know how to use a sewing maching, but I questioned whether or not plastic could effectively be stitched. Would you use something like seam binding with it? I would love to see your tomato cages.

Our space is too limited for the hoop house in our raised bed garden. I want to make individual covers for each bed.

Obviously, broccoli doesn't need to be covered up in the spring, but if you're brave and attempt early tomatoes ~ hello hoop house.

Sylvana said...

Yeah, Primrozie, thanks a lot! ;)
For the tomato cage covers I didn't use a seam binding, but there wasn't much tension on the seam. For the hoophouse I was thinking that I might use a binding, or there are some special sewing techniques (like welt seams) that might work without adding a bunch of extra, non-transparent material to the cover. I will probable run a series of experiments before final construction.