Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Creating a hoop house...

This is a slightly belated post, but it took me a couple of days to compile footage, and get all of my notes together. In an earlier post I spoke about starting a 12 month garden. You may have raised your eyebrow about this and thought, "I've heard that one before", but it wasn't all hot air (or just words on a page). In evidence, I supply this post.

I had to order the greenhouse glass for the lids of the cold frame, so I only framed the wood and turned the soil. I have evidence of this for a later post when I wrap up that project. This weekend's finished product was the hoop house. Like all projects I do, it involved two trips to home depot (one for all of the planned items and one for all of the unplanned items) and a bit of midstream innovation. All things look easier on the DIY network than they really are, this is no exception. I got the general idea from books/Internet posts I've read, but what would be the fun if you followed directions? Where would we be if Thomas Edison went with the common herd and used oil lamps and candles? If Lewis and Clark stayed in the East, who would have led civilization into the west? Where would the iPhone be if we all thought Alexander Graham Bell was the last word on telephones? It is the American way to recreate the best designs. I am an American, therefore I reinvented the hoop house!

So, if you want to be an American too, don't watch the video and go make your own your way. If you want some of my sketchy ideas, though, keep reading (and try not to laugh too much).
I started with 3 pieces of pressure treated 8' 2X4s, 5 10' 1/2" PVC pipes, screws, nails, and 5 "T" connections for 1/2 PVC. (here, I unwittingly strayed from the program by buying the wrong 1/2" T connections, so in the future, I will test the connections, not read labels). If you want to enjoy making this, it will be much more fun to also have a skil or chop saw and a nail gun. Other tools may be used, but these work best.

Step 1: Cut one 2X4 in half so that you will have 2 8' sections and two 4' sections. Nail these together to create a rectangle. Note: You will want to seal the pressure treated wood with an oil based sealer so that the chemicals used to pressure treat the wood do not leak into your soil and kill those wonderful plants you are trying to grow.

Step 2: Cut all of the PVC pipes in half. You should then have 10 5' pieces.

Step 3: Drill holes on PCV and start screws that will subsequently be attached to the wooden frame.

Step 4: Attach all pieces of PVC to the wooden frame at equal distances. Use PVC primer and glue to bring the tops of the PCV together with the 'T' connections.

Step 5: Turn the soil where you want the hoop house to be and bring in at least 4" of good soil. For best results add steer manure and mushroom mulch.

Step 6: Put plastic over the new hoop house!

If after watching the video you have any questions and would like more detailed info or pictures, or would like to see all of the things that I messed up and innovated around, feel free to drop me a note. I'll be happy to let you learn from my mistakes.


  1. Great article. Simple and do-able for any home gardener. Posted directions and the U Tube video together make it so clear.

  2. Nicely done, and welcome to Blotanical! Sometimes I wonder where our own garden would be without PVC, zip ties, and pipe clamps ;) We use a similar hoop set up on our raised beds here. Great for holding up floating row cover over heat sensitive plants in summer, or cold sensitive ones in winter, and really getting the most out of the growing season. Great job on the video too!