Easy, Low Cost Hoop House (check the Updated Photos)

I grow a lot of kale in my garden, and the last 2 years the caterpillars have been eating more than I do. I do not use pesticides. I decided this year I would cover this area with netting to try and prevent or at least minimize the eggs getting laid on the kale. It is a small white butterfly that starts laying eggs in June, and by July the caterpillars are eating large holes in the kale. I also decided that I can cover the area with plastic until it warms up so that I will get some kale earlier. It is April 15th and there is a lot already growing. I have been keeping the area covered with plastic. The area I covered is about 12 feet by 7 feet. I went to the local home improvement store and bought 8 - 24 inch pieces of rebar($1.75 each), 4 pieces of PVC 1/2 inch by 10 foot($1.85 each), and at Walmart I found a roll of plastic for $15. It is 20' by 25'. I also had some dollar store zip ties that I did not need to buy.

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Step 1: Putting in the Rebar

When I was putting in the 1st piece of rebar I noticed that the top was getting flattened out, so I covered it with a socket to help prevent the damage. The PVC needs to fit over the rebar so it needs to stay round. The spacing I used was approximate 7 foot from side to side, and for the length about 3 feet from bar to bar. The rebar is 24 inches long, and I left about 12 inches sticking out.

Step 2: Assembling the Frame

The PVC was a little tight going over the rebar, but this will help it from coming off.

Step 3: Adding the Cover

It was very windy today, and I was by myself, so it was a challenge getting this on without it blowing away. I used 4 zip ties on each tube. This should hold it. If not I can add more. I plan to leave this on for 2 -3 weeks, and then I will remove the plastic and install the netting. The netting I have is from walmart and it's in 10 by 14 foot sections. It was $6 a package. I bought extra because I will overlap the netting to get better coverage. When it gets cold I will reinstall the plastic so I can extend the growing season as long as possible. This took me about 2 hours to so, I would hope it will last 2-3 years. The extra vegetables I will get will be worth the low cost and ease of building this.

Step 4: April 24th, Inside the Hoop House

Kale from last year, and some new kale seed are coming up fast. I also mixed in some onions, collards and radishes. The onions are supposed to help repel pests. In about 10 days I plan to remove the plastic and put the netting. I have already seen a white butterfly buzzing my garden looking for the kale. This is the one that lays the eggs that turn into the caterpillars that I am trying to prevent.

April 28th- I am in Northern Indiana, and last night we had a late snow storm. The structure held up with the weight of the snow and it stayed warm enough inside to prevent things from freezing up.

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12 Discussions

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maxman

3 months ago

I made a hoop house frame by pounding 5 foot we tions of rebar into the ground, about a foot deep, then arching a piece of concrete reinforcement. Same concept as yours.

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CaseyCase

Tip 4 months ago

I recommend using pvc electrical conduit instead of pvc plumbing pipe for this project. The pvc electrical conduit is made to resist sunlight exposure and is less expensive than the plumbing pipe. PVC electrical conduit is grey in color, FYI.

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trickman777CaseyCase

Reply 3 months ago

That sounds like a good idea. It isn't that much more expensive. Will it bend easy?

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CaseyCasetrickman777

Reply 3 months ago

PVC conduit is less expensive than schedule 40 plumbing PVC pipe in my area. It bends the same.

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trickman777CaseyCase

Reply 3 months ago

I didn't know there were 2 different kinds. That's what Instructables is all about. "knowledge is power" - Francis Bacon

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dan3008

4 months ago

Very nice. I'm just sat here thinking that with longer pipes and more plastic, you could easily make a walk in greenhouse

1 reply
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trickman777dan3008

Reply 4 months ago

They sell all kinds of couplings to put pieces together. It would be very easy to design a larger hoop house any size you want. Because I am using this one specifically for kale it does not need to be tall. I have also planted some onions and radishes under this because I read it will deter some bugs.

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ronanry

Tip 4 months ago

What you can do (as i saw on a "real" greenhouse) is to weld a piece of metal on the rebar so you got a shape like a 1.
That way, you can tie a string all over the greenhouse to keep it in place (instead of zip tie which lead to hole, and bigger hole and bigger and bigger with the wind coming)

2 replies
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trickman777ronanry

Reply 4 months ago

Sound like a great idea. We had some strong winds this morning, and so far it is holding up well. I am going to reinforce each hole and zip tie with some heavy duty packaging tape as soon as things dry up.

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aaahotdog

4 months ago

Electrical conduit can probably take the UV better, however, it is twice the price of plumbing pvc pipes. Good luck with the caterpillars. I feel your pain.

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jessyratfink

4 months ago

I've been thinking of putting in one of these to extend my growing season a little bit! I hope you outsmart the caterpillars this year :D