A hoophouse, also known as a high tunnel or greenhouse, is an effective and efficient way to cultivate a variety of vegetables year-round. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced gardener, growing in a hoophouse can be a game-changer. This method protects plants from harsh weather, extends growing seasons, and enhances yield. In this blog, we'll explore some of the best vegetables to grow in a hoophouse, providing helpful tips to maximize your harvest.
Growing vegetables in a hoophouse is an incredibly effective and efficient method to extend the growing season and ensure a constant supply of fresh produce throughout the entire year. If you currently own a hoophouse, or if you are considering acquiring one, there are several essential factors and guidelines that you should be aware of when it comes to successfully cultivating vegetables in different seasons. Here are some of the basics of what a hoophouse is and the best vegetables to grow within one.
What is a Hoophouse?
Also commonly referred to as high tunnels or cold frames, hoophouses are a type of greenhouse that offers numerous advantages. A hoophouse is characterized by its semi-circular enclosed structure, consisting of a strong steel or PVC frame covered with heavy, durable clear plastic material. These greenhouses effectively shield plants from the elements and create a safe nurturing environment. One of the most appealing aspects of hoophouses is their affordability, as they can be obtained at a relatively low cost. Moreover, they are pretty straightforward to set up and operate, requiring no expensive equipment. However, it's important to note that hoophouses lack advanced lighting or temperature control systems, demanding regular attention akin to any other outdoor garden. Hoophouse construction is often approached as a do-it-yourself project, although they can also be purchased. Options vary in terms of size, ranging from large stand-alone structures to smaller ones that can be attached to raised beds.
Hoophouses provide numerous benefits, making them an attractive option for both beginner and experienced gardeners. By using a hoophouse, you can enjoy an extended growing season, higher yields, enhanced flavor, healthier plants (due to increased air circulation), and protection from extreme weather patterns like hail or strong winds. Additionally, hoophouses are capable of preserving moisture levels and reducing pest pressure. The hoophouse environment offers mild, protected conditions for seedlings, allowing you to get a head start on the growing season when cultivating certain vegetables. Furthermore, by utilizing hoop houses, gardeners can avoid potential losses due to early or late frosts, which are common across numerous areas of the United States.
The exact best vegetable options will naturally vary depending on the climate where you live. In general, though, because outdoor temperatures and conditions are vastly different in winter, you certainly shouldn't plant it in the same manner you would plant your summer garden. Some of the best vegetables to grow in a hoophouse include:
A naturally cold-hardy vegetable, kale exhibits remarkable resilience and can withstand temperatures below freezing. When it comes to winter gardening, the sweeter taste of winter kale makes it an absolute must-have for anyone trying to decide what to grow in a hoophouse.
Growth can fluctuate based on temperature, but spinach is known to be a quick grower when the climate is right. For that reason, it is recommended to do several plantings throughout the winter in order to enjoy fresh spinach year-round.
Cold-tolerant broccoli thrives in temperatures ranging from 50-70 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 45-55 degrees Fahrenheit at night. To ensure continuous growth even in frigid conditions, it is crucial to insulate and protect the broccoli plants. For optimal results, consider starting the broccoli plants in a hoophouse during late winter, allowing them to fully mature in the cool spring weather.
Lettuce and Other Greens
Leafy vegetables are well-suited for hoophouse production, as they can tolerate lower temperatures and require much less maintenance than many other veggies. This includes popular options such as lettuce, spinach, kale, arugula, and Swiss chard. Once established in a hoophouse, these greens will generally continue to produce throughout the winter months with minimal effort.
Roberts Ranch Hoophouses Is Your Answer
At Roberts Ranch Hoophouses, we understand how challenging it can be to cultivate hearty vegetables during the winter months. That’s why we are proud to offer quality hoophouses and supplies that will help you maximize your production and enable you to harvest healthy produce consistently throughout the year. If you have any questions about all things hoophouses, we're at your service. Contact us today to learn more about how beneficial a hoophouse can be for you.