What are the benefits of building a hoop house?
*Please note, a hoop house doesn't provide a license to grow everything in the seed catalog :) Hoop houses are limited by ambient temperature, daylight hours and the quality of the soil.
For seasonal extension, It is a good idea to reframe your crop selection to your local market. Hoop houses give you the ability to plant transplants into the ground as much as a few weeks earlier. In the case of longer term vine crops, this means earlier blooms and perhaps the ability to have the first tomatoes of the season at the market. Earlier plantings may give you more turns (number of harvests) of leafy greens.
For cut flower farmers, who could benefit from underwatering and petals protected from rain and wind damage, a hoop house may mean earlier perfect cut flowers in early spring. It could mean, having product when commanding market prices are available to add to the year’s bottom line.
Think earlier harvests, later harvests, and off season options like: cold hardy crops, soil building through cover cropping, and better produce protection throughout the entire season.
Hoop house construction timing can mean the difference between a stressed out season or actually using the structure in an ideal manner. Considering your first and last frost dates will help you to decided the best time to have a completed hoop house.
Trying to build a hoop house in the winter for a winter crop means you will be rushing the build, planting later than a full crop cycle can happen, and most likely ordering when suppliers are at full capacity.
Trust me when I tell you that suppliers get slammed with orders for greenhouse film adding to cut times. The same thing happens in the summer when temperatures spike for the first time. The best thing you can do is never let any supplier dictate when you will get a critical piece of equipment. There is no better example than the mass agricultural industry hit during the Spring of 2020. Covid-19 delays and then out of stocks everyone was affected by.
Be prepared before you need something or be flexible in the busy season. Having a mindset of flexibility and preparedness will in general make you a better farm business owner.
High Tunnels are an offshoot of a hoop house that typically describe taller sidewalls and bigger doors for larger equipment. The terms;
hoop houses, poly tunnels and high tunnels are interchanged a lot.