Is a hoophouse worthwhile in Indiana (Zone 5)???

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by Wannabee, Jan 18, 2005.

  1. Wannabee

    Wannabee Foggy Dew Farms

    Dec 8, 2004
    I've been looking at the hoophouse plans that are on the message board, and I am getting ready to build one, but before I do, I just had some questions......

    #1. Is it really worthwhile in IN? Can the basic build-it-yourself out of pvc pipe really keep the plants warm enough??? It is -1 degree F today where I am at....

    #2. How often does the plastic need changed?

    #3. I swear we have 400 mile an hour winds here...OK, a little sarcasm, but it is VERY windy at times...Can the 4 mil plastic hold in very windy conditions???

    Thanks SO much for all of your help and for posting your plans on hoophouses....they look easy to build, cheap to build, I just want to know if they are worthwhile for where I live....

    Thanks again!!!!!!!!!
  2. wy_white_wolf

    wy_white_wolf Just howling at the moon

    Oct 14, 2004
    Not year round without extra heating, But one would extend your growing season by 2 to 3 months

    FarmTek claims 4 years on theres

    This I do't really know but the rounded design gives less flat walls to catch the wind

  3. HilltopDaisy

    HilltopDaisy Well-Known Member Supporter

    Feb 26, 2003
    New York
    I'm also in zone 5, and I'm very concerned about the high winds. I decided to build small. I have 4'x8' raised beds, so I made mini-hoops over 2 of them, using 10' sections of pvc and U clamps (that's probably not the correct term). I mounted the clamps every 2' and inserted the pvc, and will staple plactic on in April, after I plant lettuce and some other cold tolerant greens. I plan to attach the plastic on one long side, and weigh the other side with a log. I think since it will be fairly low to the ground it will hold up better than a taller structure.
  4. 3girls

    3girls Well-Known Member

    Aug 18, 2004
    SE PA, zone 6b
    Wind and PVC don't go together. Wind, not tornadic, has been known to send 30 x 96 foot houses sailing. My 30' x 72' hoophouse in WA state was anchored down in concrete and held together with sturdy bolts. It withstood 70 mph winds. 4 mil plastic lasts a year +/-. GH plastic is 6 mil UV protected and will last at least 3-4 years.

    I like the idea above about hoops over the 4' beds. You can use 9 guage wire to build the hoops. Just anchor down the sides of the plastic with logs, bricks, rebar, etc. Tighten up the ends in a wind storm. This system works very well to extend the season at either end (spring or fall).

    See Eliot Coleman's book, Four Seasons Harvest or the book on hoophouses from Growing For Market ( for year-round use. Some supplemental heat may be necessary. Read Coleman's book before proceeding.

    There are a number of ways to add a little heat to a small gh. See the archives for many good links.

    I have a small hoophouse made from a couple of 10' x 20' canopies from Costco. When I add heat beyond the 100' heating cable, it will be with circulating hot water under the benches. I have these canopies seriously anchored down into the ground, and it is protected from severe wind by deciduous trees nearby.

    I hope this is of some use

    PS. Yes, this would be very worthwhile in IN. Or anywhere else in the North. You would be hampered somewhat by low light, or the need to have blooms. Not much will grow from about Nov.1-Feb 28. It is easier, however, to hold things that are already grown.