Building A Tomato Hoop House

Fashioned from basic materials, it’s my kind of DIY.

Once upon a time, a girl lived on a windy blustery island but she also really loved tomatoes. She told her husband we need to build them a home so they can stay warm and turn red. So they did it. And every year it worked. So they had allllll the tomatoes they ever needed to feed their family and lived happily ever after on Cape Sable Island. The end. 

Building a temporary tomato hoop house is priority every year for us. . It’s very cold, damp and windy here so keeping the tomato plants warm, and disease free is the only way to achieve a good harvest. And it works !

Tposts on the outside and cattle panels which are flat to start , are pushed by two people to form a semi circle and popped in between the tposts. The tposts are roughly 8 ft apart . I keep the hoop house low due to our high winds.

Here are a couple of things I like about it :

1. I can move it around year to year to new ground for good crop rotation; 

2. I can take it down during the winter; 

3. It keeps all the overhead rain off my tomatoes preventing disease; 

4. It involved minimal cost and materials were all quite readily available. 

-cattle panels 64.99 and can be used for many many years,

-bungee cord we had 

– 6 metal t posts $6 each we reuse every year 

-one box greenhouse plastic$47.99/box ( a price increase of twenty dollars over two years ago-grrr). A box lasts me two of these

-bungee hooks 5.99  and best of all 

-optional Tyvek tape. I use the white for visual pleasure and just tape down the seams to prevent tears or flapping in the wind.

5. It allows me to snake my drip hose into a small area for more intentional watering of the tomato plants.

Drip hoses

And bonus .

6. It involved minimal assembly cursing from my husband😁

Like everything, each year I learn something from the mistakes I make. I staple the plastic to wooden 2*4 inside the frame for ease of tucking it under and holding it there. I also don’t anchor the tposts to the hoop house with wire until after I have put the plastic on.

In need of a pruning but you get the picture. I use string to tie the tomatoes up to the top of the hoop house for support. I do this quite early on .

I grew up in an area about 45 min from here but the climate, zone 5A is completely different from here, zone 6A. Instead of trying to outsmart Mother Nature when I grew tomatoes for the last twenty two years, I really just needed to work with this island climate (damp, foggy, rainy) to get a better harvest.

The last years ten years have been so much better, and at 50 years old  I have at least forty more years to get it completely perfect !!

Love Jenn xx

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