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The Resilience Hub & Portland Maine Permaculture Message Board › Hoop House "recipe"

Hoop House "recipe"

user 3022592
Portland, ME
Post #: 58
HOOP HOUSE "Recipe" for 12' wide box

(Taken from Elaine's notes while questioning Charles Yelton in detail at Permaculture Course in Brooks Maine. Photo of this hoop house is under our "Photos" section.)

To make the box: (They also had a wider box with 5 hoops.)

3 pieces of 12' long (and 2"x12" high) hemlock. Cut 1 board into two pieces of 4' for the ends, and 1 piece into 3' 9" (for the middle) to connect the two 12' pieces.
1 lb galvanized deck screws 2" 6x2
3 nails or 2 screws in each spot
Could use right angle clamps at 4 corners

To make the 12' wide hoop

8 pieces of rebar 18" or 24" inches
Home Depot might sell them precut) for the polypipe to fit over.

40' of polypipe cut into 10' lengths (or more if you plan to use some for the two ends)

1 roll of hanger strapping (metal) ¾" x 10' galvanized steel, 24 guage (Master Plumber heavy duty) 5 pieces of 12 ' long wood strapping
To cover hoop house - use Klerk 50 plastic (Griffins' Greenhouse in Gray) $120. a roll will serve several/many people. Chip in.


1. Drive rebar into ground in 4 places close to the box:
both ends and centered equidistant to sides.
2. Slip 4 polypipe pieces over the rebar on both sides of box
3. Firmly attach polypipe over rebar to the box with the metal strapping clamps
4. Attach 12' wood strapping onto the polypipe with screws in 3 places:
at the apex and 1 foot lower on each side.
5. Attach 2 pieces of 12' wood strapping to front and back of precut Klerk 50 plastic with gun stapler. That way the plastic can be rolled up and back like a roll top desk.
6. For two sides: Either fold over plastic and attach with gun stapler or attach permanent plywood ends (using 3 screws) if preferred (though Tom Snyder believes plywood would warp.) Will Guerrette (who made our grape trellis with rebar) suggested attaching Klerk 50 plastic to two additional polypipe hoops which can be screwed onto the two year round polypipe ends when cold weather arrives, and removed when spring returns.

Lisa F.
Group Organizer
Portland, ME
Post #: 150
Thanks Elaine & Francis! That's a great help.
user 4058763
Hollis Center, ME
Post #: 25

What diameter polypipe is that and where is the best place to get it?

I'm planning on doing a few of these next spring.
Lisa F.
Group Organizer
Portland, ME
Post #: 199
We got our plastic pipe at Portland Plastic Pipe (I know...go figure) in South Portland.­

We used 1.5" pipe and we used 1.25" plastic pipe clamps (u-shaped with "wings" that you screw through). Two clamps at the bottom of each pipe. The clamps are smaller than the pipe so that as you screw the pipe on with the clamps it really "sucks" the pipe tight to the wood. Note that we did not do the rebar routine as we wanted our hoop houses to be portable, but either method is good.
Gorham, ME
Post #: 4
I've read a few brief articles on hoop house construction, as well as small cloche creation. For the cloches/row hoop covers, many use schedule 40 or 80 PVC to make the hoops. Is this an acceptable alternative to the polypipe ? I know that with thicker pipe (over 1") it becomes far less flexible for creating the hoops, but 1/2" - 3/4" is usually flexible enough to arch into the 1/2 circle hoop.

Anyh thoughts?

I'm seriously looking into the row cover cloche/hoop structures, as they are very inexpensive and can be moved /removed with relative ease.

Understand, I am just starting in the Permaculture gardening, so this coming season, I will likely be using permaculture techniques, but also somewhat traditional techniques, sans artificial fertilizers, of course.
Lisa F.
Group Organizer
Portland, ME
Post #: 228
We used 1-1/2" pipe and it worked really well for a 4' wide hoop house. We attached it to the frame with 1-1/4" pipe clamp which helps suck the pipe in tight to the frame...two clamps per attachment point. We used scrap lumber we had on hand and basically just spent $$ on the plastic sheeting (went in on some of Elaine's roll) and the plastic pipe and clamps. Not very expensive at all.
A former member
Post #: 80
There are a lot of cement blocks here that were left by the previous owner and I am wondering if anyone has seen them used for the "box". Any thoughts would be appreciated.

There is also a big stack of old railroad ties, but it seems to me that I've read that dangerous chemicals do continue to leach out of them. Any thoughts on that?
A former member
Post #: 46
Hi Mary,
How goes it at your new place? I used cement blocks to create a small (4x8) quick and dirty hoop house. I stuck the curved pipe into the wells of the cement blocks ( and also pushed the pipe further into the soil so that they are anchored a little more deeply than just in the wells) If I had tied the hoops (as Elaine did at her work party) by screwing a long strip of wood to the top of each of the hoops, the hoops and plastic would be more stable and resist flopping over and bending with rain and snow loads. Any lime leaching from the cement blocks hasn't seemed to negatively affect the plants and maybe even has helped my acid soil a bit. I don't know if there is anything toxic in the blocks to be concerned about. If you make the blocks somewhat higher than the soil level, then every year you can add more mulch to create a raised bed. BTW, I also plant herbs in the unused wells which helps soften the ugly blocks.

A former member
Post #: 84
Hi Winnie,

Actually I was wondering if "bad things" might still be leaching out of the rr ties. BUT, you brought up somethng pretty interesting in your suggestion of putting herbs in the block wells! Many (most?) herbs do really like limey, well drained soil so I can see that they would be very happy!
David H.
Oxford, ME
Post #: 259
I have planted chamomile, lemon balm, dwarf sunflowers, and mint in blocks before...then created a fascade with stone ...make the blocks completely unseen.

I would steer clear of the rr ties...far worse than treated lumber(if that is possible!) and I think that they would constantly be leaching some level of toxins.
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