A greenhouse is one of the most useful additions for any gardener, regardless of whether they are hobbyists or commercial growers. In choosing a greenhouse, the cost is always one of the most important considerations. For the home gardener, a good alternative is to choose a hoop style greenhouse. These simple greenhouses can be assembled very easily, and have many advantages over the more expensive glass ones.
Commercial hoop or quonset style greenhouses with the curved ribs made of galvanized steel are available. They usually have ends framed with doors and sometimes a ventilating window already in place. They generally include just the frame work, and pvc film must be added as the skin once the ‘skeleton’ is assembled.
Don’t have the money to buy your own hoop style greenhouse? Anyone who is at all handy can easily make their own. Make the hoops with strong black pvc piping curved over supports of rebar driven into the ground or mounted on a base of concrete. Six mil poly stretched in place makes the skin, attached with clips.
So why choose a hoop style greenhouse?
Whatever the choice you make, these inexpensive hoop greenhouses can give a grower an extra 2 to 3 months of growing time. Vegetables and flowers can be started from seed and the young seedlings kept in this protected environment until the weather allows transplanting outside.
Like any greenhouse, hoop greenhouses will protect plants from adverse weather conditions and different crop predators. No more worrying about hard spring rains washing away seeds and flattening young crops or early frosts destroying tomato plants. Your plants are safe from birds and other pests.
With the longer growing seasons, more varieties of plants can be grown in greenhouses. Slower maturing types of vegetables will have the time to mature. Also, with protection from the weather, and some insulation from night time temperatures, semi tropical plants have a spot to thrive.
As a home gardener you will be saving money – think of all those delicious organic veggies you can grow! And if you decide to specialize in one or two specific crops, you can sell at your local farmers market. I know that selling vegetables or herbs can bring in extra cash, as well as providing you with fresh produce.
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Growers can easily recover the cost of building in a single season of planting, especially if they build it themselves. The framework of galvanized steel hoops or pvc piping is low maintenance, very sturdy and economical. A covering of 6 mil plastic can last four to six years, and is quite easy to replace when it is necessary. The shape of the building can handle heavy winds and snow will slide off the curved sides.
And while you’re thinking large, think small as well. Mini hoop greenhouse tunnels placed over rows of plants, or over a raised bed will protect seedlings from wind, cold and rain, maintain a warm environment and deter pests.
Most hoop greenhouses use natural temperature regulation. The sun is the source of warmth. The sides can be rolled up in summer, and the doors opened to provide cooling and ventilation. The growing season can even be extended by adding a second layer of plastic film, and using a blower, insert air between the two layers.
Another way to retain heat is to stack straw bales outside, around the perimeter. A third warming solution is adding barrels of water within the structure. During the day, the sun warms the water, and as the water cools over night, it warms the interior.
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A hoop style greenhouse has enough vertical space for taller plants to grow. By adding purlins or crossbars, it is easy to hang baskets or tie up tomatoes and other plants. Plants can be grown in containers. Alternatively, some owners build raised beds along the inside perimeter.
There are many reasons why people choose this type of greenhouse. Aside from the multiple benefits that they offer for growing, these greenhouses are very economical, simple to set up, and easy to maintain.
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