Easy to build PVC Cold Frame Hoop House is a mini greenhouse that allows you to grow salad greens and cold tolerant vegetables into the winter, and get a head start on early spring planting. This hoop house is more resistant to heavy snow than our previous versions, listed below.
This is version 3.0 of our cold frame hoop house. What I like about this one is that it's a taller than our previous cold frames, so you could start to grow tall plants like kale or start sunflowers earlier in the spring.
A couple things to keep in mind while you're building this hoop house, especially if you are using this on raised beds. You want this hoop house to fit just inside the walls of your raised bed. I made this mistake when I made my first hoop house, I didn't measure how wide my raised bed was and the cold frame didn't fit exactly. Experience has once again taught me something. The frame fits just inside the wooden sides of the raised bed and it doesn't have to have a super tight seal with the soil, you do want some air exchange in and out. What the hoop house is doing is moderating temperature. When it gets really cold outside, it's going to be cold in there but it will extend your growing season.
Consider planting some cold tolerant greens in August, I like a salad green mix that sold by Fedco seeds. They have a fall and winter lettuce greens mix and that's worked really well for me.
One thing I did not mention in the video is that where the plastic meets the plywood ends of your hoop house, the plywood can cause the plastic to tear and so you might want to put something soft around the edge of the plywood. If you have some old garden hose you could split the garden hose open and run that along the edge of the plywood and that would go a long way toward making the plastic such that it wouldn't rip.
For this 8′ x 4′ cold frame I used:
- Two 2×3 8′ long studs
Two 2×3 studs cut to 45″ long
One 1×2 8′ stud, you could also use a 2×2
4 metal angle iron brackets
3 pieces of 1/2″ Schedule 40 PVC cut to 6′ long
1 1/4″ and 1 5/8″ drywall screws
Two pieces of 4'x4′ thin plywood. You could also cut down a 4'x8′ piece.
3 or 4 mil plastic, i used a roll of 10′ x 25′, which is enough for two hoop houses.
Two thermatic vents, available here: http://amzn.to/1zyiQ4G
Using the angle brackets, build a 4′ x 8′ wood frame, make sure the shorter pieces of 2×3 wood (the 45″ pieces) are inside of the larger pieces, so the outside dimensions are 48″ x 96″
I cut the plywood ends to match the arc of the pvc hoops. Take one of the hoops and curve it into the wood frame at the end of the frame, and use this to sketch the arc on the plywood ends, it does not have to be perfect.
My hoop house cold frame gardening has been greatly influenced by Eliot Coleman and his Four Season Harvest book and Nikki Jabour's Year Round Vegetable Gardener.
Watch all of our hoop house videos here.