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There are several different types of structures you can use to help your plants grow, but what’s the difference between a hoop house vs. greenhouse vs. high tunnel? And which one is right for you?
In this article, we’ll break down the key differences between these three types of structures and help you decide which one is best for your garden.
Hoop House vs. Greenhouse vs. High Tunnel Overview
The main difference between a hoop house and a greenhouse is that a hoop house is typically made with cheaper, less durable materials and does not have as many features as a greenhouse. “High tunnel” is another name for hoop house, so these two are the same.
What are Hoop Houses?
Hoop houses, also known as high tunnels, are unheated, temporary structures made of metal or PVC pipes. They’re typically covered with a single layer of plastic film, which helps to create a microclimate that’s warmer than the outside temperature. Hoop houses can be used to extend the growing season for cool-weather crops like lettuce and spinach or to protect heat-sensitive plants from frost damage.
But it’s not just cold weather that hoop houses protect plants from. They also protect from wind, damaging storms, and pests. The extra layer of the plastic film helps to keep out destructive insects, while the enclosed environment can help to prevent plant diseases from spreading.
Hoop houses can also help farmers and gardeners to grow plants and crops outside of their normal climate zones.
Plants inside a hoop house can be filled in holders, beds, or straightforward in the ground. More modest hoop houses are typically Quonset molded (half-circle), while bigger ones may have a pinnacle outline, which is where the name “high tunnel” comes from.
These structures are very effective and economical solutions, and they can be made in various sizes.
What are Greenhouses?
A greenhouse is a permanent or semi-permanent structure with transparent or translucent walls and a roof. Greenhouses are typically made of glass, polycarbonate, or fiberglass. Like hoop houses, greenhouses create a microclimate that’s warmer than the outside temperature.
But because they’re made with solid materials instead of just plastic film, greenhouses can provide an even more stable environment for plants. This is especially beneficial for heat-loving crops like tomatoes and peppers, which require a consistently warm temperature to thrive.
Greenhouses can also be equipped with automated systems to control the temperature, humidity, and ventilation. This allows gardeners to create the perfect conditions for their plants and to grow a wider variety of crops year-round.
Being more durable, lasting, and innovative makes greenhouses more costly to set up in the short term but also gives adequate advantages that make it a beneficial interest over the long haul, particularly for commercial enterprises.
What are High Tunnels?
High tunnel is another name for hoop houses. They are essentially the same thing.
How are Hoop Houses and Greenhouses Different?
When looking at a hoop house vs. greenhouse vs. high tunnel there are some similarities, but there are also key differences between these two types of structures.
The main difference is that hoop houses are temporary and greenhouses are semi-permanent to permanent. Hoop houses are typically made of metal or PVC pipes covered with a single layer of plastic film, while greenhouses are made of solid materials like glass, polycarbonate, or fiberglass.
Hoop houses can be used to protect plants from cold weather, wind, storms, and pests. Greenhouses can provide an even more stable environment for plants and can be equipped with automated systems to control the temperature, humidity, and ventilation.
Greenhouses are more costly to set up than hoop houses, but they’re also more durable and last longer.
So, Which One is Right for You?
The type of structure you choose for your garden will depend on a number of factors, including your budget, the climate you live in, and the types of plants you want to grow.
If you’re just starting out, a hoop house may be the best option. They’re less expensive than greenhouses and can still provide a lot of protection for your plants.
If you have the budget for it, a greenhouse is a good investment. It will last longer and give you more control over the growing environment.
And if you’re not sure which one is right for you, consider starting with a hoop house and then upgrading to a greenhouse when you’re ready.
Hoop House Pros:
- Hoop houses are cheap and simple to set up.
- They have good plant management.
- Can be effectively dismantled and moved to new areas.
- Give proper climate insurance to most cultivating or limited scope cultivating projects.
- They can be big, so they provide a wide area to work in.
Hoop House Cons:
- Hoop houses don’t give the same degree of security or mechanization that a greenhouse does.
- They aren’t permanent structures.
- Can be very costly in areas with extreme weather conditions, as they may require extra equipment.
- Greenhouses give the most significant level of assurance against bugs, infections, and harsh climates.
- These are a lot sturdier than hoop houses and can, without much of a stretch, withstand solid breezes, weighty downpours, and most storms.
- Greenhouses permit you to make a temperature and humidity-controlled microclimate for your harvests.
- More expensive.
- Can require an electrical system, which increases the overall cost.
How Much Growing Space Do You Need?
Hoop houses and greenhouses come in a variety of sizes, so you can choose the one that best fits your needs.
If you’re just starting out, a small hoop house or greenhouse will be sufficient. But if you want to expand your garden in the future, you may want to consider a larger size.
Hoop houses and greenhouses can be purchased in kit form or custom-built to your specifications. If you’re handy, you may even be able to build one yourself.
No matter which type of structure you choose, it’s important to make sure that it’s properly ventilated and has adequate drainage. Otherwise, your plants will suffer from heat stress and disease.
One of the biggest areas in the decision of purchasing a hoop house vs. greenhouse vs. high tunnel is cost. The cost of a hoop house or greenhouse will vary depending on the size, material, and features you choose.
If you’re on a tight budget, a small hoop house may be the best option. But if you have the money to invest, a greenhouse will give you more control over your growing environment and last longer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a hoop house as good as a greenhouse?
A hoop house can provide a lot of protection for your plants, but it doesn’t give the same degree of security or automation that a greenhouse does. Greenhouses are more expensive, but they’re also more durable and last longer.
How much warmer is a hoop house?
Most hoop houses keep the temperature about 5-10 degrees (Fahrenheit) warmer than outside, although the specifics will vary.
Are hoop houses worth it?
Hoop houses are a good investment if you’re just starting out or if you have a limited budget. They’re less expensive than greenhouses and can still provide a lot of protection for your plants.
Do I need a permit to build a hoop house?
You may need a permit to build a hoop house, depending on the regulations in your area. Check with your local zoning office or building department for more information.
Do I need a permit to build a greenhouse?
You may need a permit to build a greenhouse, depending on the regulations in your area. Check with your local zoning office or building department for more information.
Can you heat a hoop house?
You can heat a hoop house with a variety of methods, including electric heaters, wood stoves, and propane heaters.
Will a hoop house protect from frost?
A hoop house can provide some protection against frost, but it’s not as effective as a greenhouse.
What grows well in a hoop house?
Nearly any type of plant can be grown in a hoop house, although some do better than others. Warm-weather crops like tomatoes and peppers will thrive, while cold-sensitive plants may need extra protection.
What is the difference between a hoop house and a high tunnel?
Hoop house and high tunnel are two different names for the same thing.
Which is better for beginners, a hoop house or a greenhouse?
A hoop house is a good option for beginners because they’re less expensive and easier to set up. Greenhouses can be more complex, so they might not be the best choice for someone just starting out.
Hoop House vs. Greenhouse vs. High Tunnel: Final Thoughts
When it comes to deciding between a hoop house vs. greenhouse vs. high tunnel (which is the same thing as a hoop house), it really depends on your needs. If you’re just starting out, a hoop house may be the most cost-effective option. But if you have the budget for it, a greenhouse will give you more control over your growing environment and last longer. Whichever type of structure you choose, make sure that it’s properly ventilated and has adequate drainage to protect your plants from heat stress and disease.
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