Creating a portable hoop house for under $25 bucks, it can be done!

Items Required:
Pallet
(4) Casters (locking ones are a plus)
(3) 10’ x ½” PVC schedule 40
4mil plastic wrap
Screws
Pack of ½” clamps
Metal wire

Tools:
Drill
Wire snips
Staple Gun and staples
Saw

Containing my excitement for gardening is not as easy as container gardening. With the abundance of outstanding spring weather this year, my green thumbs were itching to get to work. So, I started germinating plants with some seeds indoors…in the middle of January. In the midst of all my excitement, I will admit that I was not thinking clearly. By starting seeds in January, I was giving myself about 3 months of growth before transitioning to the outdoors. As the seeds continued to grow, my space continued to disappear. Since these seeds were started with the intention that they would be grown outdoors, transitioning them to the outside world was inevitable. However, because I started my seeds in January, I still have some time before the fear of frost has fully thawed.

A hoop house or green house allows for a suitable environment even when mother nature may not be cooperating. By building a hoop house, I can begin transitioning my seedlings into the outdoor world and can limit the amount of direct sunlight they receive while still protecting them from the cold weather. I can also cover and seal the environment in the event of a potential frost. With the addition of casters, I have the ability to make the hoop house mobile in order to work for me and not the other way around. I can follow the sun or shade my plants. I can wheel them to my water source and wheel them back to where I want. The options are infinite.

Starting with a pallet, preferably one that is untreated, attach your four casters. One in each corner. I used 1.5” decking screws I had laying around. Once your wheels are securely attached, flip your pallet over. Now that we’re literally on a roll, it’s time to make sure your pots won’t slip and fall between the slats in your pallet. If you are using larger pots and this is not a concern, feel free to skip this step. I used some wire fencing I had laying around to create support for my smaller pots since a few of them would have ended up on the ground. Once you have cut your fence, staple it to the top of your pallet. Be sure to look out for any sharp edges that could poke you or catch and tear your plastic sheeting. Now your pallet is ready for some hoops. Screw one ½” pipe clamp into the side of your pallet on all four corners. Once you have attached the clamps, insert one end of the PVC and bend the other end down until it is touching the other side of the pallet making a hoop. Insert the piping into the clamp and tighten if necessary. Screw on another clamp to secure the PVC in place.

After you have your hoops set, you can brace them by adding a horizontal cross member. This cross member not only adds structure, but keeps your plastic from flapping in the wind and tearing. I used cotton string to lash my cross members to my hoops, which allows for minimal friction and will let you slide them up and down, providing a clear work space. Now that you have everything framed and are on a roll, it’s time to add the plastic sheeting. Measure and cut so that you have enough material on either side to wrap around the PVC and secure. To secure the plastic, staple one side to the pallet and drape over your hoops. I stapled a piece of wood to the other end of my plastic which makes it very easy to roll up and out of the way. You can use the remaining ½” clamps to keep your plastic attached to your hoops when in the fully covered position.

There you have it: a quick and easy portable hoop house that will allow you a longer growing season. Harvest first and harvest often! And be sure to keep it green!

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