This fall I put together a homemade hoop house, which is just another name for an unheated, temporary greenhouse.
I’ve had small hoop tunnels in the past, just big enough for plants to grow but that’s all. This one is big enough to walk into.
My new structure is allowing me to grow cold weather crops such as spinach, kale, and lettuce well into the winter. I also plan to use it to get an early start in the spring.
This one I made from parts to an old shade canopy that I haven’t used for a few years. We used it during the summer months to keep the sun off the picnic tables when we had outdoor get togethers.
Actually, I used only half of the pieces. Using all of the parts would have given me more square footage than I need. I just wanted a modest space to grow lettuce this winter.
Looking at the pile of structural parts from the canopy I had in the barn, it occurred to me that I could re-configure them into the size of hoop house I was looking for.
I did have to buy some materials for the project: plastic greenhouse covering, splicing tape, and pipe hardware. Since I didn’t want to cut any part of my shade canopy — in case I ever wanted to use it for that purpose again — I also bought one length of metal electrical conduit and four connectors to use as post extensions. Since the electrical parts were the same diameter as the parts I already had, it made it easy to splice the old and new parts together.
I also added some thin pieces of wood to make a door and give a place for me to attach the plastic sheeting. I used 4×4’s for the foundation.
I ended up with a greenhouse measuring 10 ft by 10 ft, that’s 100 square feet of growing space. Next year, if I feel the need, I can expand it up to its original size of 10 by 20 feet.
If you’ve ever considered a hoop house or greenhouse, this may be an inexpensive way to get started on a small scale. And what if you don’t have a shade canopy of your own to recycle? Well, I’ve seen used shade canopies for sale at yard sales. Some of them had their shade cloth or other parts missing. That’s OK though since the parts will probably be re-assembled in a different configuration like I did with mine.
So far, my hoop house is standing up to the wind and winter storms we’ve had. I’m optimistic that it’ll still be standing come spring-time.