If you are a small farmer in business, a hobby farmer, or a homesteader, especially in a cool climate, you might want to expand your growing options by buying or building a high tunnel or hoophouse.High tunnels and hoophouses generally have ribs made of metal or PVC (plastic), and are covered with clear plastic. Crops are grown in the ground with drip irrigation.
image credit: This Old House
High tunnels differ from greenhouses in that greenhouses typically have active heating and electrical power, while high tunnels just use the sun for heat and wind or passive ventilation such as lifting the sides, for ventilation. High tunnels are generally more mobile and less complicated than greenhouses.Roger Cook helps a homeowner build a simple, affordable backyard greenhouse.
If you are the DIY type, you may choose to build your own high tunnel. You will still have to purchase the metal or PVC for the hoops as well as the plastic. You can use various methods to anchor the high tunnel to the ground, to bend the hoops, and to secure the plastic cover to the hoops as well as allow for ventilation.
You will need to choose the site for your high tunnel. The site should be level, well-drained and easily accessible. You can move high tunnels as desired each year, or you may choose to keep the high tunnel in one location. If you are using the high tunnel in one location, plan to amend the soil each year to maintain fertility. You can also use raised beds or tables within a high tunnel (for example, you could grow microgreens or start seeds on tables in a high tunnel).