A hoop house can be a useful addition to any home garden. Hoop houses can be used to allow gardeners to grow year round. Clear hoop house covers allow for winter growing even in cooler climates, while shade houses can allow those in warmer climates to garden more effectively during the warmest part of the year. Hoop houses, sometimes called polytunnels, are simple covered structures that can make our gardening efforts more resilient in the face of a changing climate. One of the key considerations in hoop house gardening is making the most of all the space available. Vertical garden ideas in a hoop house can help us to increase yield in a given area.
What is Vertical Gardening?
When we think about how much growing space is available to us, many of us will tend to think only in the horizontal plane. But by thinking in terms of vertical as well as horizontal space, we can dramatically increase the amount of growing area available in our homes and gardens. Vertical gardening is all about how we can move into three dimensions and make the most of the space we really have at our disposal.
Vertical gardening may involve creating structures to allow plants to grow in a more upright configuration, so they require less space on the ground. It can also involve creating vertical structures that will support tiered gardens. In a hoop house, with its metal framework, vertical gardening practice can also involve creating hanging gardens, to use space that is usually lost towards the top of the structure.
Why Adopt Vertical Garden Ideas?
If you buy or make a hoop house, you will soon discover that however large a hoop house you are able to build, you will always want more space. Vertical gardening can significantly increase the amount of food that you can grow, so whether you have a small hoop house or a much larger one, adopting vertical gardening techniques can dramatically increase yields.
Increasing yield is always a good thing. The more food you are able to grow at home, the more resilient you will be as an individual, and the less negative impact you will have on the wider environment. By choosing to grow our own organic produce, in as sustainable a way as possible, we can begin to withdraw our support for the world’s damaging agricultural practice. We can reduce our carbon footprints and reduce the waste we produce as households.
Vertical Garden Ideas For a Hoop House
Vertical garden ideas should ideally be included from the beginning in your hoop house layout and plans. Giving some thought to how to use all of the vertical as well as the horizontal space in your garden, however, is something that you can do at any time. The good news is that it is relatively inexpensive to install vertical garden structures in a hoop house and these structures will require only limited DIY ability. Each of the ideas below can be implemented over the course of a weekend, and one of the wonderful thing is that they can make use of scrap or waste materials that you may even have lying around:
The first of these simple vertical garden ideas for your hoop house is a trellis. A trellis can be used to support any climbing or vining plants, to prevent them from spreading horizontally on your growing areas. A trellis can consist of a section of wire mesh or fencing affixed to a simple wooden frame. The base of the frame can be set into the soil in your hoop house, while the top, leaned backward slightly from the base, can be attached to one of the crop bars (horizontal metal supports) of your hoop house structure. A trellis such as the one in the image above is ideal for vertically growing squash, pumpkins, cucumbers, peas, and many more plants in your hoop house. The somewhat shaded space behind the trellis can be perfect for lettuce and other leafy greens.
A Hanging Shelf For Seedlings
Another useful structure for a hoop house is a simple hanging shelf which can be strung from the crop bars. In the image above, you can see that the shelf has been fashioned from scrap wood, and a remnant of the plastic cover left over from construction. Wire mesh or fencing could also be used. It is a good idea to use whatever materials you may have lying around where you live. In this case, however, the resources are multi-purpose because the shelf can be raised or lowered as required and is used as a sort of low-lying cloche to warm soil for seed germination early in the spring before it is raised aloft as plants grow.
In summer, a hoop house can fill up quickly. But above the plants, there is more space that is often underutilized. By creating extra growing spaces high up in the hoop house, you can make the most of this often wasted space. Hanging baskets are one option for making use of the higher sections of the hoop house arch. If you do not have hanging baskets already, however, you could consider using all sorts of plastic food packaging or other items to create your hanging garden structures.
Cordons For Tomatoes Etc…
One final vertical gardening technique is to use cordoning to reduce the space required to grow plants such as tomatoes. A simple garden wire can be strung from the hoop house structure and fixed into the soil with old tent pegs. Tomato plants placed at the base of each of these wires can then be trained and tied into these supports, which will allow you to grow more tomatoes in the same area.
Use your imagination and all the resources at your disposal and you will realize that there are plenty of ways to make the most of the vertical space in your hoop house, and in all your growing areas.