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How to build a Hoop House by Jim Kilbert

It's time to get those hoop houses built! To build one 4x8 hoop house you will need the following: (You can try to make them smaller if you want,but you might end up being sorry for not having enough room!)

  • 5-8' long 2x4's (untreated)
  • 2-8' furring strips
  • 4-10' pieces of 3/4" electrical conduit(galvanized)
  • cardboard from phonebook covers or pop or beer cases
  • 6 mil (heavy) clear plastic
  • stapler , staple gun, and staples

Start by cutting an 8' 2x4 in half. Then trim 7" off of 2 of the 8' 2x4's. This will be the "bottom" of the frame. With a 7/8" drill bit, drill holes in the 2 8' 2x4's and 1 of the furring strips. (About 2-3" in from each end,and 2 more equidistant in between these.)Lay the 7'5" 2x4's flat on the ground, placing the 2- 4' boards against them on the ends. Then you can nail the 2 drilled 8' 2x4's on top of the 7'5" ones, overlapping the two end boards.

Then, bend the hoops. You can either borrow a 3/4" conduit bender, or have an electrician bend them for you, you want 4 "A" frame type structures. I usually make my first bend 3' up ,then one at the "peak", with a 3rd to match the first one. Exact angles aren'that critical, but try to bend them all the same.(You may need one extra length for "practice".)They should look like a" house with a roof", from the side.Another way to bend them is to drive some stakes into hard ground in a "semicircle" and bend around them. This method did not work too well for me!(The hoops will have a little bit of "play".)

Simply place your conduit "hoops" into the holes on the 8' 2x4's slipping the drilled furring strip to the "peak".(If you drill both furring strips,put them both at the peak, and you can then "open the top" for air circulation.) Fasten the hoops to the frame with nails or screws.

I then cut 2 sheets of 6 mil plastic for each end. Fold plastic over and staple, using 3/4" strips of cardboard to reinforce and hold the staples. Then wrap 6 mil plastic around and "over the top" af the 8' sides. I leave one side not completely stapled, so it can be opened up on hot days. By drilling a few holes on the side of the conduit and anchoring bottom down with a furring strip, you can roll this side up and rest it on nails you have placed in the holes. If you put both furring strips on top, you can open it at the top like a ladies purse.Staple plastic with cardboard re-inforcement down well.

I like to place my hoop houses out 2-3 weeks before planting to pre-warm the soil, and in my climate, I usually remove them around June 10.(Be sure to open the house on extremely hot days, and close back up on cold nights,( I also cover the plant with a cheap styrafoam cooler to retain heat.) Be sure to "stake" the hoop houses down in case of high winds,and if you can find a garage, barn or such to store these hoop houses in when not in use, you may get several seasons before re-covering in plastic. (The sun and wind will rip them up if left out!)I have tried to make this as easy as possible to understand, but when in doubt, use common sense!                      
Good growing!

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