reviewed by Christina Lopez
Suppose you have a crop for an extended period, to pick the fruits or vegetables into the winter or maximize the production. In that case, you probably have to consider incorporating a hoop house or greenhouse. Read the article Hoop House VS Greenhouse.
You don’t have to be an expert agriculturalist to practice one. Both types of growing structures are suitable and effective for any growing layout. The systems are operative from a large-scale farm to a small market or home garden.
Both hoop houses and greenhouses are seasonal extension techniques as they allow farmers and gardeners to grow crops well before the last frost date and after the first frost date in their region by creating a warm and protected microclimate where plants can thrive even when the weather outside isn’t favorable for growing.
These structures are helpful to promote improved crop quality and productivity. It allows for greater control of factors such as lighting, watering, ventilation, and temperature. The supports provide more excellent protection from pests and inclemency. Both options can significantly benefit your growing operation and help you get the most production from the space you’re working with.
Both are used to modify the environment to assist in growing crops when the weather outside is not quite suitable. The systems have some intensive or semi-intensive irrigation systems installed to take the place of water from rainfall. Plastic insulation is a simpler and cheaper option to help adjust the soil temperature for growing vegetables in early spring.
They both boost plant growth in the spring and fall, giving farmers a competitive advantage. Harvesting of harvest starts early in the season, allowing the grower to achieve a higher price. The same is valid in the fall when harvesting will begin after field crops have succumbed to frosts and hard freezes.
From a distance, hoop houses and greenhouses may look the same. However, you’ll see the greenhouses have exhaust fans on one end, heaters, motorized vents, and potentially lamps when you get closer. As a result, they are dynamically air-conditioned using electricity and carbon-based fuels.
Hoop houses are an essential and cost-effective framework for year-round crop production. They are extending structures like low tunnels or caterpillar tunnels. It has a sturdier design that often includes better anchoring as well as wind and snow bracing. This makes them usable throughout all seasons.
Plants inside a hoop house can grow in a container, a raised bed, or directly in the ground. Smaller hoop houses are usually Quonset-shaped (half-circle), while larger ones may have a peak frame. These larger ones often call high tunnels to differentiate them from the smaller designs.
You can fit them right over an existing crop or garden bed or a planned growth area. They’re also highly portable and can move around to new locations with ease.
Unlike hoop houses, greenhouses are often intensive, having active heating and ventilation elements, getting supplemental heat from a furnace or boiler, and increasing airflow with end-wall vents and a series of fans.
Greenhouses are permanent structures that have a solid support framework, durable coverings, wind loads, snow guards, and cemented ground posts. They can be the same size as hoop houses or, more significantly, several greenhouse plastics, solid polycarbonate, or glass.
Irrigation in greenhouses is often automatic and is usually accomplished using a drip irrigation system, misters, overhead sprinklers, or other mechanical approaches. Greenhouses typically necessitate the installation of a complete electrical system due to all of the automation. Greenhouses have full protection from the weather, rodents, soil pathogens, and other environmental conditions since they are completely sealed.
Their environmental control design makes it possible for farmers and gardeners to grow healthy and productive crops all year long – even in the coldest parts of winter or during intense summer heatwaves.
Being more sturdy, permanent, and high-tech makes greenhouses more expensive to set up in the short run but provides ample benefits that make them a worthwhile investment in the long run, especially for larger commercial farmers.
However, some dedicated gardeners also enjoy the benefits and permanence of smaller-scale greenhouses in their gardens.
Because of these main structural differences, hoop houses are much cheaper than greenhouses. They use for extending the season earlier in the spring, later into the fall, or both. They are not as helpful during the winter months in the Northern states since there is no heating source other than closing them up and trapping the sun’s energy inside where it turns to heat.
Greenhouse structures allow you to add as many bays as you need. There’s no size limit. Some overseas greenhouse operations are the size of cities.
In contrast, most hoop houses are single, free-standing, Quonset-style structures. If they’re more than one desire, they can gutter connect so that the sidewall between the two (or more) can eliminate.
While hoop houses or greenhouses have some similarities in the level of protection they afford your crops or garden, they also have some significant differences in cost, installation, and maintenance. You’ll have to weigh the needs and scale of your farming or gardening project to decide whether a hoop house or a greenhouse is right for you.
Hoop houses are best suited for more extensive gardens or small-scale farms, while greenhouses are most cost-efficient for medium to large-scale farms. Both hoop houses and conservatories can be purchased or constructed in multiple sizes and price points, making them available for any garden or farm size.
Most hoop houses rely on passive heating and ventilation and have roll-up sidewalls that allow for airflow within the structure. Some hoop houses may also have end-wall or ridge vents to help increase the total airflow.
So, which should you choose for your farm or garden? Hoop houses and greenhouses each have specific benefits and challenges that you’ll need to consider before deciding which one is right for you.
About Christina Lopez
Christina Lopez grew up in the scenic city of Mountain View, California. For eighteen ascetic years, she refrained from eating meat until she discovered the exquisite delicacy of chicken thighs. Christina is a city finalist competitive pingpong player, an ocean diver, and an ex-pat in England and Japan. Currently, she is a computer science doctoral student. Christina writes late at night; most of her daytime is spent enchanting her magical herb garden.