Hooping It Up! Hoop Houses

The Darlin' Man and I experienced Total Garden Failure last season. A combination of the natural desert climate and hotter than average temperatures combined with the ongoing Texas drought spelled it's doom. Watering did no good as the temperatures were so high for so long, the heat killed the plants before they could make it to maturity.

This year, we plan on building Hoop Houses and garden in them.

We have never tried Hoop House Gardening, so research is our first step!

A great resource is this page:

www.hoophouse.msu.edu

If you go to the links page, there is MUCH more. Also lots of good stuff on the resource pages.

They have a pdf file that we downloaded to read at our leisure. So much to learn!

On The Kerr Center website, they have a wonderful download that includes plans and material lists!

www.kerrcenter.com/publications/hoophouse/index.htm

In fact, no matter what you want or need to learn about farming or gardening is probably on the Kerr Center website!

Of course, there is absolutely no substitute for "hands on" experience! With that in mind, we have found someone locally that has built and gardened in Hoop Houses and is willing to come out and teach/help us how to build and maintain one and all the other details of this. Of course, we are paying them for their expertise and assistance in building our Hoop House. This will be a small (26 foot by 26 foot) Hoop House. We will be building it on our concrete basketball court in the back yard. The court was there when we rented the place, so why not utilize it?!? We don't play basketball and the concrete pad has mainly been use as a place to stage lumber and supplies for other projects. We are lucky to have a level solid space to put a Hoop House!

I know some of my fellow Earthineers have Hoop Houses or have used them in the past. I am hopeful that some of you will chime in so we can add to our knowledge base and spread Hoop House enthusiasm around Earthineer!

I am curious about a few things (never having had a Hoop House):

What was the biggest mistake you ever made in building/maintaining Hoop Houses?

What were the difficulties in "regular" gardening that you didn't have with your Hoop House?

Pollination...what do we do about that?

Any materials you heartily recommend? Any you swear you'll never use again?

What vegetables and fruits did well for you? Which were a complete flop?

Let's start the discussion!