A high tunnel (aka hoop house) is a great way for starting seedlings indoors, and extend the growing season in your area. Backyard gardeners have come to love high tunnels because they protect plants like a greenhouse would, but they are a fraction of the cost.
There are a few good options for purchasing a hoop house kit for your next growing season. But the “best” one for you is going to depend on your situation and what you’re looking to use it for.
There are quite a few different sizes, heights, and widths you can build your high tunnel. These kits make it easy so you don’t have to design plans to get this done.
What to Look For in High Tunnel Kits
No matter what you’re looking for, there are some basics you’ll need to make sure your kit has:
1. Greenhouse plastic – this one seems pretty obvious, but it’s important to make sure the plastic covering is strong and durable.
2. A lock channel and spring lock wire (aka wiggle wire) – these secure the plastic and keep it from blowing away.
3. Cross connectors to attach your plastic to so it doesn’t move much in the wind.
4. Ground posts and ground post driver – when you’re putting as many posts in the ground as you’ll need for a hoop house, a driver is going to save you time and make sure they are deep enough to be sturdy.
The Best Hoop House Kits
These are the best hoop house kits I’ve found. Based on price, quality, and the level of customer service you receive.
The products Bootstrap Farmer makes are by far the best. They’re made in the USA, super durable, and the customer service from this company is incredible.
These kits come with the nuts and bolts (literally) that you need to build your own hoop house.
The only things not included are the wood/lumber and conduit poles you need. They don’t include these to reduce shipping costs and keep this kit affordable for backyard growers.
They do include a chart to help you estimate additional costs and even give the links to the exact parts on Lowes and Home Depot.
They break down all the costs so you’re not guessing what the budget need to be.
These kits are usually ready to ship in just 2-3 business days, so you won’t be waiting around long. That also gives you enough time to pick up the additional items you might need at Lowes or Home Depot to fully complete these setup.
While you will need to pick up some lumber and poles at a local hardware store, Bootstrap Farmer sends you the required nuts and bolts to complete the setup – which I love!
How Big Should a Hoop House Be?
The size you want to get is really going to depend on the growing space you need and the square footage that will fit whatever raised beds or rows you are going to grow plants in.
It’s a great idea to draw out what your hoop house is going to be able to fit in it before you pull the trigger and buy one since they aren’t exactly cheap.
How Much Does it Cost to Build a Hoop House?
While it might be a bit more expensive to get everything separately, using one of these kits you’ll likely spend around $1,500-$2,500 (depending on the size and length of the high tunnel you’re looking to build.)
Can a Hoop House Withstand High Winds
Yes, these hoop houses can take a pretty good beating when it comes to wind. However, if you live in a very very windy area, you might want to grab an additional $30 anchor set just for added security.
They can also handle pretty heavy snow and work wonders as backyard greenhouses.
What is the Difference Between a High Tunnel and a Hoop House?
It depends on who you ask 🙂 Both are pretty much the same, but the high tunnel has a taller ceiling, thus the name. You can grow taller plants inside and more comfortably walk around. Here is more information on what the difference between a hoop house vs greenhouse vs high tunnel is.
How Wide Can a Hoop House Be?
Most hoop houses are around 12 feet wide. If you want to build a wider one, you can do that but might need to get that custom designed or just plan for that.
Is a Hoop House as Good as a Greenhouse?
A greenhouse is usually a more permanent structure. A hoop house can be moved and expanded as years go on.
A greenhouse is more durable and generally used for year-round use in colder climates and during very warm summers. Because of the more permanent nature of a greenhouse, you can usually avoid more pests and plant diseases.
A hoop house, while not as permanent of a structure, can be just as durable and cost a LOT less. You might even consider a hoop house to be more of a DIY greenhouse kit since you’re really just buying all the pieces and installing it yourself. These ones also come with end walls and a door for easy access.
Hoop houses are a great way to extend your growing season and help keep your plants cool during the heat of the summer. This kit from Bootstrap Farmer is the best way to build a hoop house for your garden.