I spent today building a hoop house with my mom and my kids in my garden so I can heave an earlier growing season and have an outdoor place to experiment with seed starting. It is built right on one of my garden beds and extends about five feet to one side where I plan to start seeds.
What I thought was a couple of hour project turned into six hoursof very hard work. But I think after building a few more of these, I could do it in less time. My hope is to build a more permanent structure for next year's seed starting and modify this hoop house to have greens growing all winter.
For this year, I think this will do nicely for my purposes. I found the instructions here. They worked fine, but I made a few modifications. I used green metal fence posts and duck tape to stabilize the structure a bit and copious amounts of duck tape on various other parts while building.
After measuring and setting my corner posts last week, I began today by cutting 1/2 inch PVC posts and pounding them into the ground every 36 inches on each side. I then put 3/4 inch PVC over the posts, and connected them with plumbing fittings for the "ribs" and put a "spine" down the middle with 34" cross beams. The structure seemed a little flimsy and we reinforced with green metal fence posts that I happened to have on hand from last year's garden and a nice helping of duck tape. This worked out really well and the structure seems pretty sound. Then we taped two 10x25 pieces of plastic together (incorrectly, forcing me to improvise with some additional plastic and duck tape as they were not long enough to cover the structure). They are held down on either side by 2x4s as per the instructions.
We added on the doors on the ends. We had loads of fun trying to figure that out, but in the end, succeeded in making something we think will work. It was a fun project and I really enjoyed being barefoot in my yard in January. 70 and sunny! And now I can start my garden a little early! Woohoo!