Site a Hoop House for Succes

Hoop houses (also known as “high tunnels”) are plastic-covered hooped frames tall enough to walk under that are used to extend the growing seasons of vegetables, flowers, and fruit. They’re also called “unheated greenhouses,” “polytunnels,” and “cold frames.” They can be used for year-round growing of seasonal crops, and although temperatures inside aren’t much higher than outdoors when the sun isn’t shining, hoop houses manage to facilitate impressive rates of growth and quality crops. Generally, hoop houses have no supplemental heating, and crops are grown directly in the ground. Hoop houses are often double-skinned, meaning they have two layers of plastic film, with a small blower keeping the space between the layers inflated. This provides increased insulation and improved strength against winds and snow or ice loads, and lengthens the life of the plastic by preventing flapping and abrasion. Provided winds aren’t strong, overnight winter temperatures in a double-layered hoop house can be about 8 degrees Fahrenheit higher than outside. Hoop house soil temperature rarely falls below 50 degrees in Zone 7a.

If you want to establish a hoop house of your own, here are some factors to consider before you invest in the time and effort, and ultimate reward, of having one.


Sun exposure is the first important factor to consider when siting a hoop house. Walk around your farm in midwinter, pacing out and flagging several potential sites. The sun will be at its lowest angle during this time of year, and shadows from obstructions will be at their longest. Hoop houses are solar-powered growing zones, so your site needs as much sunlight

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