Building A Cheap Hoop House With Andrew Odom

Posted on Jan 22 2010 - 5:20am by Mike Lieberman

Andrew Odom (@AndrewOdom) is one of my imaginary friends that I met on Twitter. He lives and gardens down south in Georgia.

He built an almost recycled hoop house for his garden for under $30. I’m jealous.

Since the small plastic greenhouses that I made failed, this is something that I will definitely consider for my backyard vegetable garden in Brooklyn next winter.

Curious as to what went into the construction of Andrew’s and the results, I asked him a few questions that he kindly answered.

Where’d you get the idea of the hoop house?
I wanted to grow beyond the traditional season and I still had some plants that were hanging on and I definitely wanted to try something out of my comfort zone. After seeing The $50 Greenhouse, I knew I had it in my to give it a try.

How much did it cost to make?
It cost about $29 in actual legal tender but about $75 worth of begging, borrowing and pleading.

How long did it take? Actual time spent working on it? And actual time from beginning to end?
It took me about a week to get all the materials together (including the plastic and PVC), about 6 hours of actual labor. I kept it up from about November 4 to about January 16. Full photo set of building the hoop house.

What was the most difficult part in making it?
The most difficult part was manipulating the plastic without putting any holes in it or allowing for any air draft. The plastic needed is in one large sheet and required a second and third set of hands at times.

What were the results? Did it work?
The results were about 3 harvests of baby romaine lettuce, 1 harvest of purple cabbage (7 heads) and 25 or so sweet onions. We did lose some plants to an unpredictable (and totally unexpected) freeze in early January. Because we were using geothermic temperatures as well (the raised beds were actually one inch into the soil causing the roots to dig into actual earth and not just developed bed) we had to deal with unseasonable ice. It worked well though…especially for a first (and rather unorthodox) try.

What was it like deconstructing it?
Deconstruction was easy. The plastic was contractors plastic so I didn’t expect it to work more than one season. Because it had weathered – stretched and sagged a bit – I ended up just kind of ripping it off and folding it to be used later on random projects. The PVC I took down, labeled for next year and taped up. Check out his hoop house deconstruction photo set on Flickr.

Would you do it again? If so, what would you change?
I would do it again, for sure, but I would make the skeleton a little more stable using a wood framework for the front and back and only using PVC in the middle structure. I would also give myself more plastic to negotiate rather than being so specific with my measurements.

Thanks Andrew. Now I feel like a complete lazy ass for putting a garbage bag over my containers and calling it a day. This would’ve been so much more practical. Great work my man!