One of the great things about hoop houses is that, once installed, they are a low maintenance option for season extension. This does not mean that they are NO maintenance though. There are a few things you will need to do in order to keep your house in good working order and extend its life.
Set a time to do an intentional walk around your house to look for any problems. Do this monthly and after any major weather events. This is one of those times that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. You are looking for any rips or holes in the plastic, clogged drainage ditches, loosening of the plastic, and anything near your house that has the potential to cause damage, IE. fallen branches, kids leaning their bike on the side of the house.
Greenhouse Plastic Maintenance
Keep your plastic tight.
Using lock channel and spring wire makes it easy to tighten individual sections as needed.
Loose plastic is more likely to tear during inclement weather.
Do not allow unpainted PVC to be in contact with the plastic. PVC reacts with the plastic and contact between the two will void your warranty.
**Taping up a small hole when it happens will save you a big tear the next time the wind picks up. We farmers have a tendency to keep pokey things in our pocket.
CHEMICALS AND PLASTIC
Keep chemical sprays away from the plastic.
If you need to spray your plants try to limit over spray by using a more directed stream instead of misting.
Turn off circulation fans while you spray.
If chemicals do get on the plastic, clean them off with mild soap and lot’s of water ASAP.
This is particularly important with sulfur and chlorine as both will damage the plastic and high levels may void your plastic warranty.
If you live near a large farm or vineyard that regularly sprays their crops, you can ask them to let you know so you can rinse off your hoop house afterwards.
SEASONAL CHECKLIST for a Hoop House Greenhouse
Tighten bolts and screws.
Oil hinges and moving parts.
Tighten batten tape and rollup side ropes as needed.
Tighten any sways in your plastic.
Keep any drainage trenches and lines clear of debris. Re-dig trenches if necessary, particularly in late fall once the rains start falling.
What to do with your hoop house after weather events.
Brush off any snow build up during storms.
During heavy rains check for puddling on your plastic and tighten as needed.
Clear storm debris from ditches.
Brush off fallen leaves and branches.
If hurricane force winds are predicted for your area, remove the plastic to avoid damage to your structure.
Hoop houses are a significant investment for most small farmers, and doing these simple tasks will ensure that you get the most from yours. Although most coverings have a 4-year warranty, well-maintained plastic can last far longer.
Putting up the hoops is one of the most dramatic steps in your build process. Finally, all of your preparation and work starts to look as big as it will be. Putting the hoops together and setting them is when the structure really starts to look like something. Read more to learn all about installing hoops for a hoop house.