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Hoop House Construction for New Mexico: 12-ft. x 40-ft. Hoop HouseCOLLEGE OFAGRICULTURE ANDHOME ECONOMICSBRINGING SCIENCE TO YOUR Cooperative Extension Service • Circular 606LIFE
Hoop House Construction forNew Mexico: 12-ft. x 40-ft. Hoop HouseDel Jimenez, Ron Walser, Reynaldo Torres1HOOP HOUSE FACTORS TO CONSIDER BEFOREThe hoop house, cold frame and high tunnel BUILDING A HOOP HOUSEcan be basically the same structure with Hoop houses are relatively inexpensive tominor changes to the design. The hoop construct, costing around $1 per square foot,house gets its name from its shape, although with low maintenance once constructed. Theyhouses can be constructed with straight lines are easy to build and adapt to small land unitsusing elbows to get the desired shape for a to meet the needs of gardeners and farmers.building. The shape of a hoop house causes Since plants need sunlight to grow, lightwater and snow to be shed from its exterior penetration should be a concern in structurewhile permitting sunrays to provide heat. design. Grow lights can be used but require Houses of this category are made with an electrical source. In an area where windaluminum pipes or plastic PVC pipes as and snow are part of nature, consider thehoops that are covered with a single layer of load limitations the structure must have topolymer plastic covering. A second layer endure stress.may be added for better insulation. The height of the hoop house can be adjusted so that one can walk and work inside comfortably, therefore, one must think aboutREASONS TO BUILD A HOOP HOUSE height before construction starts.Hoop houses are ecosystems all in themselves,and the environment inside can bemanipulated to a crop’s need. SELECTING A SITE Hoop houses can extend the growing FOR A HOOP HOUSEseason, since you may plant early, the Select a site that is moderately level withcollection of heat units with the plant is good drainage and good soil for planting. Ahigher resulting in earlier harvesting. Planting site can be modified by soil fill so thatin late summer and early fall allows you to construction is on a pad. Select a site in anproduce and harvest into the winter months. open area where trees and other obstacles will Planting in a protected environment not affect sun penetration.guards the crop from Mother Nature’s Consider the surrounding area so thewhims and control the crop’s quality. structure will be protected against high Using the hoop house for season winds and heavy snows, thus providingextension increases income over a longer longer life. Water and electricity may beperiod of the year and allows the use of needed for the hoop house, so a sourcedifferent marketing strategies. nearby should be considered.1 Agriculture Specialist, Rural Agricultural Improvement and Public Affairs Project (RAIPAP), Fruit Specialist, RAIPAP, and Agriculture Agent, Taos CountyExtension Service, respectively, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico.Cooperative Extension Service • Circular 606 1
Security and protection against vandalism rebar 24-ins. long. Drive these stakes 12-ins. of the hoop house and crop may also be a into the ground at a 30-degree angle from factor to consider when selecting a site. vertical pointing inward. Half the stake will now be underground and half the stake above the soil. ORIENTATION OF THE HOOP HOUSE Place a string around the four corners to Preferably, position the hoop house in a outline the hoop house’s foundation. north south direction. Air currents come Along both lengths of the hoop house and from a south, southwest direction and will inside the string, drive 24-in. rebar stakes help ventilate the hot air buildup within the every 4-ft. apart, 12-ins. deep, at a 30-degree hoop house on hot days. The north south angle, until you reach the desired length. orientation also favors sun penetration, since the sun tracks from east to west going directly over the hoop house for maximum light SETTING THE PLASTIC PIPE HOOPS penetration. The standard length for PVC pipe is 20-ft. With a 12-ft. wide hoop house, the height in the center is approximately 6 1/2-ft. LAYING OUT THE HOOP HOUSE On a 16-ft. wide hoop house, the height is Begin by choosing the size of a hoop house approximately 5 1/2-ft. Adding extra lengths that meets your needs. Then square off the of pipe will increase the height and width of corners of the hoop house using the a hoop house. It is recommended that you Pythagorean Theorem. add the extra length to the ends of a 20-ft. A2 + B2 = C2 pipe because, when the pipe is bent, the (Length of Building)2 + (Width of Building)2 stress is not as severe on the glued joint. = (Hypotenuse of Building)2 There are various size PVC pipes that can be used for the hoops: 1-in, 1 1/4-ins., Example: A (12-ft.)2 + B (40-ft.)2 = C2 1 1/2-ins., 2-ins. are the most common. 144-ft.2 + 1,600-ft.2 = 1,744-ft.2 The desired height, length and the local √1,744 = 41.76-ft. environmental conditions will determine C = 41.76-ft. what size is best. We recommend the use of 2-in. PVC, because it holds up well to winds blowing C (41-ft. 9-in.) A 50 mph and the occasional snow 8-ins. thick (12-ft.) on the plastic. Use new plastic pipe for construction because weathered pipe will be brittle and break when bending. Once the B (40-ft.) pipes for the hoops have been bent and weathered, the pipe will retain its bent shape and can be reused for another hoop house project. Squaring the building is critical so that When the rebar stakes are set, it’s time to the rest of the structure proceeds normally in place the PVC pipe. This is accomplished by construction. placing one end of the PVC pipe over one of the stakes, then bending the pipe by pulling on it; place the opposite end of the pipe on SETTING STAKES the lateral stake on the opposite side. If the After squaring the corners of the hoop house, rebar stakes are perpendicular to the ground, set four stakes in the ground using 1/2-in. it is very difficult to place the pipe on the2 Cooperative Extension Service • Circular 606
spike. That is why stakes should be placed at tubular braces for irrigating, you can attacha 30-degree angle (figs. 1-3). the tubular brace directly to the 2-in. pipe using a 2-in. drywall screw. If you will use the tubular brace for watering, you must usePLACING THE WOOD a 3/4-in. one-hole or two-hole conduit strapBASEBOARDS to attach the pipe (figs. 6-8).Baseboards are installed to give the hoophouse stability, and are where the plasticcovering is attached. On the outside of the ATTACHING POLYETHYLENEhoops along the base of the hoop house, PLASTIC COVERINGplace the baseboard using 2-in. drywall The greenhouse plastic acts as the skin to thescrews fastened to the 2-in. PVC pipes. structure, letting light rays in and keeping the The baseboards should be 1-in. x 4-ins. weather out. There are different grades of polyx 10-ft. long boards, butted and fastened covering, but a 6-ml. weight works well fortogether by short brace pieces. You may also hoop houses. It is recommended to useuse 2 x 4s. Make sure the screws and brace polyethylene coverings that have been treatedpieces are faced toward the inside when with a UV inhibitor, and guaranteed to last atinstalling the baseboard. least three years. Unprotected polyethylene When both sides are in place, drive two plastics will break down over a growing season.24-in. rebar stakes bent in a “J” design, 10 Greenhouse plastic coverings come inft. from each end along each side (figs. 4-5). rolls 100-ft. in length and in widths rangingThese are hooked over the baseboard. This from 12-ft. to 48-ft. The length of the pipewill help keep the hoop house anchored that makes the hoop determines the width ofduring high velocity windstorms. the plastic covering, and it is recommended to add at least a foot on each side of the house width.INSTALLING TUBULAR BRACES To successfully apply the plasticThere are three (3) tubular braces running covering, take the following steps: have extrathe length of the inside of the hoop house labor available; make sure there’s no wind;that will be used for stability and also for work in the afternoon, when the plastic canirrigation. The tubular braces will be made heat up and stretch. Lay out the greenhousefrom 3/4-in. PVC pipe. PVC pipe comes in plastic in a clean work area alongside of the10 or 20-ft. lengths. Mark the 2-in. pipes hoop house, so you can measure and cut thewhere the tubular braces will be attached. plastic to the size required. Using a straightThe mark will be 72-ins. from the end of the edge, cut the plastic at least 4-ft. longer thanpipe, and also down the middle of the pipe. the building. This way, you overlap each sideMarking the two end hoops and running a with 2-ft. of plastic. After the plastic is cut,string can easily achieve this. find the edge of the cut piece of poly and Glue the 3/4-in. PVC pipe together and center it over the hoops by dragging gentlymark every 48-ins. This marking will across the top. Let the plastic rest on thecorrespond with the distance between each hoops for 15 minutes to absorb the heat.of the 2-in. hoops. Keeping the plastic stretched, attach one side Start attaching the tubular braces from by sandwiching the plastic poly coveringthe front of the hoop house. Make sure the between a 1-in. x 2-in. x 8-ft. long furringbrace is flush with the outside of the first strip onto the baseboard, driving 2-in.hoop, and that the markings should coincide drywall screws every 2-ft. (By using screws inwith each other. If you are not using the the baseboard, it is easy to take out to replaceCooperative Extension Service • Circular 606 3
plastic covering.) When one side is complete, ADDING THE BACK WALL attach the opposite side in the same manner. The back wall provides protection against the When complete, shovel dirt onto the extra elements and also permits air circulation to plastic at the base of the hoop house. remove heat. On the backside of the hoop On the ends, stretch the plastic tight and house make a frame out of 2 x 4s that will sandwich the plastic poly covering between cover the bottom half of the hoop house. 1-in. aluminum stripping and the 2-in. Make sure that you have upright poles that plastic hoop using 1-in. drywall screws every go into the soil 12-ins. This gives the foot apart to attach (figs. 9-12). structure stability. Cover the frame with 1/2-in. plywood, and screw the plywood into the frame and 2-in. hoops. ADDING END WALLS The upper portion of the back wall will also End walls are used for access into the hoop be covered with plywood but will hinge down to house, protection against the elements of permit air circulation. The hinges attach to the nature and also to permit air circulation and bottom half of the frame (figs. 16 and 17). remove heat. Stretch a string at the bottom of the first hoop, and find the center, which will be used ADDING ROPES as a guide to construct the entrance. From Ropes are used to help secure the polyethylene the center point, measure along the string 2- covering in place when gusts of wind blow ft. in each direction. Mark these spots and through the hoop house. Polypropylene ropes dig a hole 6-ins. round and 1-ft. deep. Place 1/4-in. in diameter can be looped over the a 2-in. x 4-in. x 8-ft. board into each hole, hoop house every 10-ft. apart and tied to and angle the top so that the wood fits under stakes in the ground for added protection. the hoop. Level the 2 x 4 in both directions, This will help add life to the covering. making sure there are 48-ins. from the center of the wood. Fill in holes with dirt, and secure the top with a 3-in. drywall screw CONCLUSION running through the pipe into the wood. A hoop house is a practical tool that is When the uprights are set, place the first affordable to construct, practical to use, can piece of plywood (4-ft. x 8-ft. x 1/2-in.) up extend the growing season and possibly against the middle. This will be the door. improve income for an operation (table 1). Trim the door to fit the shape of the hoop. By choosing selective low-profile fruits and After the door is in place, continue placing vegetables that withstand cold temperatures, it plywood on either side of the door, screwing is possible to grow most of the year without these pieces into the uprights and 2-in. the use of heating equipment and electricity. PVC pipe until the wall is complete. Fasten These structures, with special plastic covers, the door to the uprights and plywood using can keep inside temperatures 4º to 6º F two hinges as well as a latch for securing the warmer than outside temperatures, and with door. The finished side should reflect the a row cover made from specially improved shape of the hoop house. webbings over the crop, another 4º to 6º F This wall can be repeated for the opposite increase can be obtained. side of the hoop house if you wish to have an With these structures one can make entrance on both sides (figs. 13-15). farming of food crops affordable, profitable and fun all year around.4 Cooperative Extension Service • Circular 606
Table 1. Hoop House Construction Material List and Estimated Cost, 12-ft. x 40-ft.Item Cost Quantity Total Cost1. Plastic PVC Pipes $7.00 13 $91.00 2-in. x 20-ft.2. Plastic PVC Pipe $1.25 8 $10.00 3/4-in. x 10-ft.3. Rebar $1.50 22 $33.00 1/2-in. x 24-ins.4. Glue 16-oz. $5.00 1 $5.005. Screws (Drywall Screws) 2 in box, 150 Screws $5.00 1 $5.00 3 in box, 150 Screws $5.00 1 $5.006. Wood Strips $3.00 8 $24.00 1-in. x 4-in. x 10-ft.7. Plastic Cover (6-ml.) $200.00 1/2 $200.00 22-ft. x 100-ft.8. Plywood $24.00 6 $144.00 1/2-in. x 4-ft. x 8-ft.9. Wood Studs $3.00 8 $24.00 2-in. x 4-in. x 8-ft.10. Hinges $1.00 6 $6.0011. Latch $3.00 3 $9.0012. Aluminum Trim $1.00 12 $12.00 1/4-in. x 1-in. x 10-ft.Total Cost $568.00Figure 1. Laying out the 2-in. x 20-ft. PVC Figure 2. Bending the 2-in. x 20-ft. PVC pipepipes that will be used for the frame. and setting them on 1/2-in. rebar stakes.Figure 3. The hoop house structure takes Figure 4. Attaching the baseboards to theshape. bottom of the PVC pipes.Cooperative Extension Service • Circular 606 5
Figure 5. Laying out the tubular 3/4-in. braces. Figure 6. Marking the height where the braces will be attached.Figure 7. Gluing 3/4-in. pipe together to be used Figure 8. Attaching the 3/4-in. PVC pipe braces toas braces. the structure.Figure 9. Rolling out the plastic to the appropriate Figure 10. Covering the hoop house with 6-ml.length. plastic film.6 Cooperative Extension Service • Circular 606
Figure 11. Stretching the plastic over Figure 12. Attaching the plastic coverthe hoop house structure. to the baseboards.Figure 13. Marking the door to be cut. Figure 14. Attaching the front door to the hoop house.Cooperative Extension Service • Circular 606 7
Figure 15. Finishing the front end wall of the Figure 16. Making a window on the back end wall.hoop house.Figure 17. Window completed; hoophouse completed.8 Cooperative Extension Service • Circular 606
To find more resources for your home, family or business, visit theCollege of Agriculture and Home Economics on the World WideWeb at www.cahe.nmsu.edu.New Mexico State University is an equal opportunity/affirmative actionemployer and educator. NMSU and the U.S. Department of Agriculturecooperating.May 2005 Las Cruces, NMElectronic Distribution May 2005