If you are interested in growing your own food all year round, a hoop house kit or greenhouse is an essential part of your growing arsenal. Urban homesteaders and commercial farmers alike are increasingly aware of the enormous benefits and incredible return of investment available on hoop houses. Hoop house kits come in all shapes and sizes, and we will consider the best options for those growing plants in all of the United States Department of Agriculture's hardiness zones.
Many hoop house kits are long-lasting and easy to construct. The U.S. government is encouraging farmers to install high tunnels to increase their productivity and efficiency. They can be used to help farmer grow strawberries, tomatoes, salad groups and herbs, as well as flowers, both commercially and for domestic use, efficiently cutting down on water use and labor.
This article will consider the best hoop house kits available and highlight companies who are also fighting to help save the planet and encourage people to live in a more sustainable way.
What Is a Hoop Kit
A hoop greenhouse, or high tunnel, is a simple and cheap alternative to traditional glass or plastic greenhouses, and it can be bought in the form of a hoop house kit, which is easy to self-assemble. Hoop houses are usually covered with a greenhouse film or woven fabric to protect growing crops and are the in-between option for homesteaders and small farmers from growing in the open to growing under traditional greenhouses.
It is possible to connect different hoop houses together, from single bay to multi-bay to increase length, and this is a great idea for those just beginning their self-sustainability living adventure, as it is easy to start small and expand at a later date. The most common hoop house kit designs are the gothic style and round hoop house. Self assembly hoop house kits normally contain hoops made of plastic or anodized steel, coverings of up to triple-ply polythene, and support posts.
Is There a Benefit to Having a Hoop House?
Hoop greenhouses extend the growing season by protecting your plants from frost at the beginning and end of the growing season. They also allow growers to germinate seeds and plant plants out earlier, as they will warm up the soil in the same way as a traditional cold frame. You can also harvest for a longer period of time, as they will protect your crops when colder weather sets in. They keep out high winds and damaging torrential rains, protecting your plants in all seasons.
You can directly control the moisture level inside the tunnel through the use of ventilator flaps and air circulation accessories, and overall, they reduce your time, effort and labor in providing a safe optimum environment for your plants. Hoop houses can be placed directly over the ground or situated over plant pots, containers or raised beds.
They will also increase your yields by keeping out diseases and pests,as well as reduce moisture loss from the soil saving water.
How to Choose the Best Hoop Greenhouse Design
The most important factors to consider before deciding which hoop house kit to purchase for your individual growing needs are:
Less expensive options include woven polythene, which may be suitable for your crops, and hoop house kits using this material often have flaps that can be easily openedup or rolled down. Different coverings include UV filter Greenhouse Film, Heavy-Duty All-Purpose Fabric and Anti-Condensate Thermal Greenhouse film, to name just a few supplied from FarmTek (see below). Most farmers expect to replace their coverings every four to five years, but this depends on your climate and intended use.
Anchoring kits are most important for growers living in harsher climates, as most hoop houses are anchored through ground posts in the soil. Setting concrete for posts is recommended for permanent structures, although this is not necessary for the hoop houses that are designed to be portable and used for crop rotation. Mounting feet are also available with some hoop house kits,. such as Emerald Houses, offering additional heavy duty support trusses.
Where to Buy Hoop House Kits
This company offers a wide range of hoop houses at affordable prices. These are constructed out of high quality steel, and although they not recommended for high wind or high snow areas, they have a four-year upper layer warranty and are easy to install. Single layer clear poly film is used and has UFV resistance. This structure does require a concrete foundation, however, and it is only suitable for permanent structures.
Environmentally Friendly Suppliers
Emerald Kingdom Greenhouses (EKG) is based in Northern California and produces small complete hoop house kits in strong 3-ply polypropylene. The company produces its kits in a sustainable and low-energy manner and believes in encouraging others to live in a more efficient and environmentally friendly way. They produce 10-ft. wide hoop house kits. EKG also produces extreme Struss supports for those of you living in snow or high wind situations. Other accessories include cooling pads, shaeffr fans and forced air heating or space heater systems.
Nifty Hoops is based in Michigan and uses solar power with a unique lourver system, which automatically vents the hoop house when it gets too hot. Their 14-ft. hoop houses are portable and can be used in a system of crop rotation.
Zimmerman High Tunnels has hoop house kits that use 13 and 14-guage steel, ensuring their durability and strength resisting bad weather. They produce 20 to 24-ft. hoop houses, and these can be customized to any length.
FarmTek and GrowSpan
FarmTek and GrowSpan have hoop house kits that can be shipped all over the states. They produce hoop houses that integrate insect screening and provide the best insulation possible for your crops. FarmTek focus on increased productivity maximizing yields from each inch of available space and producing hoop house kits for domestic and commercial growers. Their hoop house kits come with ventilation tools, ground posts and durable plastic covers, which they state will last from seven to 10 years.
Their kit feature 14-gauge, triple-galvanized steel tubing with a clear copolymer resin coated greenhouse film, which has a four-year warranty. Their kits also include heavy duty ground posts.
Tunnel Vision Hoops specializes in making hoop house kits for mid-western winters, and they are geared towards homesteaders and small farmers. Their mobile hoop houses are called caterpillars and are easy to move.
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A hoop house kit is not inexpensive but well worth the investment, as many homesteaders and commercial farmers testify to a doubling or tripling of their annual yields after installation. Not only do hoop houses increase your yield, but they also minimize your time, energy and costs after their construction.
Creating an optimum moisture level for your plants becomes easier, protecting plants from insects becomes much easier and watering can become completely automatic if you set up an internal irrigation system on a timer. Different coverings from single-ply polypropylenes for milder climates to 4-ply polypropylene coverings, along with anti-condensation or UV filter, allow you to customize your hoop house to fit your individual needs precisely.
There is a wide range of options and manufacturers producing excellent products for small commercial farmers and domestic growers and homesteaders. Those highlighted above are the key companies across the states that have established national reputations for the quality of their products and the sustainable manner in which they produce hoop houses.
Once you have determined your exact requirements, you can confidently take the next step to growing your own crops for yourself and your family all year round by making an informed purchase. Then, you will be ready to increase the profits from your time, labor and investment for the foreseeable future