Greenhouses, Hoop Houses, Cold-Frames and Low Tunnels


Eric and I are contemplating our plan for starting our garden. We will need a system to start our Spring/Summer vegetable seedlings and a system for our winter season vegetables. During the summer season, we will need a system for shading the plants when it gets over 90 degrees here. Lucky for us, the winters are mild here. We are in zone 7a, so we will not need to go over the top with extensive cold protection.

There are a few choices when choosing plant protection. Everyone is aware of the traditional greenhouses, but there are also hoop houses, coldframes and low tunnels (or chenille). Hoop houses can be made of aluminum, galvanized steel or pvc plastic pipes. They can be small to quite large but are usually about 6 feet tall. Cold frames are boxes constructed of wood with glass windows that sit over the plants on the ground. Low tunnels are a miniture version of hoop houses. They fit directly over the plant and have venting off to each of the sides. Chenille, which is a French word for caterpillar, is similar to tunnels, except they can be vented whereever venting is needed. It also give easier access to plants.

We will definitely have a greenhouse as budget permits though we plan to start small and work our way up. We are thinking of a small seedling house that can be later converted to a garden shed.

There are lots of bugs here, so we will need to understand how we will control them. Neither of us want to use chemicals to manage them. Starting the seedlings from scratch will avoid most of the pests that comes with getting starters from a local gardening center.

Eric has been perusing Craig’s List and found a guy between here and Huntsville who is getting rid of his commercial business and wants to sell his 30′ x 100′ galvanized frame greenhouse. We will need to disassemble and transport it ourselves. We are going to see it this afternoon. I think we may be able to make it smaller if needed then we will have extra parts. If we get something like this, we will not need separate sheds. Eric said, we may be overwhelmed when we see it. We shall see! I’m never short of amazement of what Eric can do!


2 Responses to “Greenhouses, Hoop Houses, Cold-Frames and Low Tunnels”

  1. 1 Carol

    That’s so cool Michelle, I had no idea that Eric was such a good handyman and builder, one of the girls told me he had made a beautiful Doll House for your Granddaughter, I know how nice it is to have a guy that can do pretty much anything, you and Eric both are so very lucky, have fun checking out the greenhouse.

    • Yes, Eric has built some real quality stuff. He loves to build. You can tell by all the different woodworking tools he owns. The playhouse for Angelique was such a wonderful project. I documented the entire build with photos. We were so sorry to have to sell it. We wouldn’t have been able to get it from California to Tennessee.

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