Our Temporary Greenhouse (Hoop House)

We did a new, really helpful thing in our garden last fall {and through the winter} that is affecting our Spring planting this year… in a good way. As you're planning your garden for this season, it may be helpful to keep this option in mind.

 

Our Temporary Greenhouse- Hoop House
 

We extended our garden's growing season with a temporary greenhouse– called a hoop house.

 

Basically, a hoop house is a temporary stucture put up over your existing garden bed. We used a simple PVC pipe structure and put plastic over it to act as walls. We created a door that swings open and latches closed on one end of the hoop house. When Hubby put it up, I thought he might be a little nutty, but it has been the greatest thing ever!
 

We live in Central Indiana, so it normally frosts in early to mid-October. Normally that means that we pick all the produce left in the garden and hope that it will ripen slowly in the house. None of that this year!

 

New Raised Beds

 

We built raised beds from old pallets last summer, so our hoop house went right over a cluster of five raised beds. Inside we would have garlic chives, peppers, tomatoes, parsley, lemon balm, and Thai basil.
 

Hubby and sons put the hoop structure up in late September so that it would be ready whenever the weather began to get cool. By mid-October, the plastic was all up and taped down to seal out the cold. They put some really big rocks inside the teporary greenhouse to provide some radiant heat at night. (The sun heats the rocks through the translucent plastic, and then they release the heat later)

 

Still thriving in late November~ in Central Indiana
Still thriving in late November~ in Central Indiana

Hoop house- first year (10)
Late November~ See the condensation inside?

 

I never had to harvest all of the green produce to let it finish ripening in the house! We were still harvesting fresh tomatoes in late November and had fresh green peppers until almost Christmas! Did I mention that we live in Central Indiana?

 

Late October~ Long after all my friends were moaning about no more fresh garden produce.
Late October~ Long after all my friends were moaning about no more fresh garden produce.

 

Fall-Winter harvest- first year for hoop house (4)

 

Yep, Hubby had to bundle up to go out in the freezing temps to pick some tomatoes and peppers. It was sooo cold out! But it was nice and warm inside the hoop house.

 

Late November/ Early December~ Some of the last tomatoes
Late November/ Early December~ Some of the last tomatoes

 

Mid to Late December~ Some of the last peppers
Mid to Late December~ Some of the last peppers

 

We did have to watch for mold in our beds, and on the tomatoes and peppers. But Hubby googled solutions. It wasn't difficult or time consuming to fix the issue.
 

We planted some spinach and lettuce in December. The plants do grow slower in the winter, but they stay warm and keep growing. We have fresh greens ready to harvest in March– before we can normally plant.

 

December planting~ about 2 weeks of growth
December planting~ about 2 weeks of growth

 

Next week we will be planting our summer veggies– peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc.– as well as some more cooler weather veggies. We plan to plant by seed right in our raised beds inside the hoop house. We normally plant inside the house this week and then transplant our small plants into the garden in mid- May.
 

I can't wait to see the harvest we have this year!
 

Next year we will be hooping the rest of our beds, too!

 

If you would like to know more about hoop houses, Hubby recommends these resources:
 

Build This Easy Hoop House to Grow More Food from Mother Earth News

Low-Cost, Versatile Hoop Houses from Mother Earth News

Season Extension from Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service (MOSES)

 Midwest Season Extension

PVC Hoophouse Construction from Henbogle

 

Also check out my Garden Board on Pinterest. I love finding cool stuff for the garden!

 

Garden! Board Cover

 

Happy gardening!

 

{Linked up to the Ultimate Gardening Link-Up~ Go check out all the fabulous information on gardening written by fellow mom bloggers!}

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