A hoop house is just what it sounds like: a series of large hoops covered with greenhouse plastic that create a tunnel in which food can be grown. Like greenhouses, hoop houses can be used for a variety of agricultural use cases that require warmth from the sun and cool air from the winds. That being said, there are some differences between the two growing apparatuses.
Hoop Houses vs. Greenhouses
It’s worth pointing out the difference between growing in a hoop house, vs. growing in a greenhouse as different uses may require different needs.
In hoop houses, everything is grown from the ground. Though greenhouses may contain raised tables or beds for growing, hoop houses do not. Hoop houses are designed so that crops can be grown directly in the ground.
Hoop houses do not use reflective ground cover. Greenhouses usually contain black reflective ground cover that reflects heat onto any seeds growing on the tables. This isn’t necessary for a hoop house where seeds are not planted above the ground, but in it.
Hoop houses are only heated by the sun. Unlike greenhouses which typically rely on heaters to keep temperatures consistent year-round, hoop houses use only the power of the sun, harnessing its warmth and reflecting it onto the soil.
Hoop houses can be used year-round. Though greenhouses can only be used in the shoulder seasons (late winter-early spring), hoop houses can be used year-round. This is because greenhouses are traditionally used only when extra heat is needed—and thus they aren’t needed in the summer. By contrast, a shade cover can be added to a hoop house to protect crops from excess sun in the summer—thus providing additional benefits greenhouses do not supply.
A Few Things You Can Do with a Hoop House
If you’ve decided that a hoop house is the way to go, here are a few things you can do with it:
Extend your growing season. You don’t have to wait until spring to plant your first crops of the season. With a hoop house, cold-tolerant plants—such as salad greens, herbs, radishes, turnips, carrots, and beets—can be seeded mid-February without problems. In cooler climates, a lower hoop house may be used to provide a little extra coverage from the cold.
Shade summer vegetables. Certain heat-tolerant crops may require a little extra shade in the summertime, and it’s easy enough to provide that using an existing hoop house structure. Simply replace half of the cover with shade cloth and make sure there are enough sprinklers in the ground to keep vegetables cool. This works well for a variety of vegetables including lettuces.
Grow vegetables that require unique microclimates. Those living in the north and accustomed to planting northern varieties may want to start experimenting with vegetables more commonly grown closer to the equator (such as tomatoes, peppers, and the like). By adding a hoop house to the mix, farmers can turn up the heat on a portion of their property.
Protect landscaping. Because most hoop houses are easily transportable, they’re perfect to protect budding bushes that may be planted during landscaping. Simply situate the hoop house over weather susceptible plants or bushes and remove it when plants are stable enough to survive on their own.
Create a chicken coop. By adding poultry netting to a hoop house frame, the same structure that protects plants can be used to protect a chicken coop or aviary.
Produce flowers. Shade cloth can be used to provide shade for orchids or other flowering plants that may be being grown to sell as cut flowers.
Here’s What You Need to Build a Hoop House
No matter what the intended use of your hoop house, they are surprisingly simple to build. BTL Liners carries 8-mil and 12-mil woven greenhouse material that can be custom fabricated to any size. The amount of UV transfer desired will dictate whether you need 8-mil or 12-mil material.
Contact us and we’ll get you set-up with everything you need to create the hoop house of your dreams.