Wednesday, 16 May 2012

In Praise of Hoop Houses

by Throwback at Trapper Creek

I sing the praises of our hoophouses a lot.  But I can't help it, having a covered growing space really makes the difference in our food choices, by extending our growing season and allowing us to bring some crops reliably to harvest.  It's common here to spend months growing tomatoes only to have them never even get close to ripening, or when the fall rains come early, you can lose your tomatoes to blight in a heartbeat.

For us the investment in a greenhouse for what some people spend on a family vacation each year was well worth it.  We like to stay home and we like to grow our own food.

Besides growing food crops in the hoophouse itself, we also use the space for starting plants for the outside garden, and for sale.

Ripe peppers are a possibility now with the hoophouse. 

Even though we live in a great berry growing area, I have moved our strawberries inside to keep them safe from the deer.  

 Indigo Rose tomato.

Ripe tomatoes are now a given in quantities large enough to supply us with all the canned tomato products our family consumes in a year.

Greens of all types are a staple - inside or out, but the hoophouse allows us to start cold hardy greens earlier than if we waited to plant outside.

 Greens, greens, greens.  It's pretty easy to eat your greens when they are so beautiful!

To keep costs down we don't the heat the space, but try to fit in crops that just need a little boost in heat or drier space to get started.

A frost nipped the zucchini a little last week, but the plants have bounced back fast with our recent warm spell.

All in all, I really can't say enough in favor of having a hoophouse for a go-along gardening space if you live in a somewhat marginal or short growing season area.  We love ours!


JOC said...

I couldn't agree more. I live in the far south of Tasmania,Australia - next stop Antarctica - and my partner has built me a large hoophouse for our vegetable growing. I still have eggplants, chillies, cucumbers and lemongrass growing strongly in there even though it's pretty cold and wet outside. We were so impressed by it that my partner has started to produce them for sale. However, there hasn't been as much call for them as we expected. If you have time, check out his website We are keeping on with it as we really do believe that this is the way to go. When we return from our holiday next month I'll be planting seeds and putting them inside to start them off prior to the growing season.

Devon Mama said...

We can't wait to get ourselves a polytunnel, as we call them here! We have a greenhouse, were we start off our plants, and grow the tomatoes, cucumbers and chillis, but would love more room!

Mickle in NZ said...

It is all looking wonderful, especially your rainbow chard!

The Mom said...

I have 2 mini hoops this year and am looking forward to using them in future seasons. I'm in New England so they will be used to extend the seasons and overwinter a few things. No need for them during the summer, as we have a sufficiently hot and lengthy season for the warmth lovers.

quinn said...

I wish I wish I wish! It's alway a choice amongst priorities here, and livestock needs have trumped big gardening expenditures for the past three years. Maybe next year, though!

Tanya @ Lovely Greens said...

Really gorgeous greens!

Stoney Acres said...

Cold Frames and hoop houses are the way to go for sure. We are even able to keep some of the more hardy greens like spinach and chard growing all winter in our Zone 5 garden! Now that I have been gardening with them for several years I don't know what I would do without them.