Hoophouses

Bill Shoemaker wshoemak at inil.com
Mon Dec 3 10:20:58 EST 2001


If you expect weather to challenge the structural integrity of your
hoophouse, I'd suggest buying one from a commercial source and make sure
they are willing to back up it's integrity. After observing many houses,
both commercial and homemade, over a number of years, I'd say most homebuilt
houses are not as strong as the commercial design. I think it would be well
worth your money to buy a standard hoophouse from a local source. Any large
metropolitan area should have a vendor that bends conduit on it's own and
can custom build the hoophouse components for you.

I never remove the snow on my tunnel. Once the sun comes out the tunnel
warms up and the snow slides off. We average around 40" on snow a winter,
usually with half of that in two or three snows. I'm using 6 mil Tufflite IV
plastic, which doesn't seem to be bothered by it and neither is the frame.

I would recommend that you drill a hole through the stand pipe and hoop and
run a 3/8" bolt through it. If you don't fasten the hoops securely to the
ground, the wind can get under the tunnel and lift it right out of the stand
pipes. You'll be left with a mess.

I've been working with tomatoes in a Hi-Tunnel (hoophouse w/single layer
plastic, side vents) for three years now and am very impressed with their
potential, much of it to be realized yet in North America. I'm curious about
your collective thoughts on what problems you have with tunnels and what
research you think should be done on them. I'm trying to find funding to
support an effort to provide low-input energy into the Hi-Tunnel design to
further it's capacity to extend the season for warm season crops. I'm in the
Chicago area and believe we can make them stretch the growing season by 100%
if we can protect them from cold surges from the north. Rather than
harvesting from July 1 to Oct 1, I'd like to harvest from May 15 to Dec 1.

Bill Shoemaker
Sr Research Specialist, Food Crops
Univ of Illinois - St Charles Hort Research Center
-----Original Message-----
From: Leigh <lh at pressroom.com>
To: Market Farming <market-farming at franklin.oit.unc.edu>
Date: Friday, November 30, 2001 3:55 PM
Subject: [market-farming] RE: Hoophouses


>I'm shopping for hoop houses right now. After returning from Sicily,
>I'm impressed with what they are doing.
>
>Anybody has favorite designs or companies?  In Italy many of the
>hoophouses look rather home built but......
>
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