An Inexpensive EarthBox Hoop House

by A.J. Coltrane

SeattleAuthor brought over Mâche seeds the other day, so it seemed like a good time to make a hoop house to keep the rain off of the seedlings. The hoop house was intended for the front yard, so it had to look decent. I was also targeting the minimum cost that would still allow for a “sound” end result. The finished cost was about $4.

140714 hoop house

Bill of Materials

~8 feet of 1/2″ pvc (black, flexible). Cut into two 4′ pieces. (Of a 100′ roll @ $16. An 8′ length should be comparable in price.)

5′ x 5′  of 4 mil clear plastic sheeting (Of a larger roll. It won’t last forever anyway.)

4 pvc clamps (sold as a bag of 5 for ~$1.60, similar to these)

7/16″ dowel x 4′, cut into 2 @ 10″ and 2 @ 14″. (The EarthBox is shallower on the watering tube side.)

2 clothespins


1.  Cut the dowel into four pieces. Cut two ~4′ sections of pvc pipe.

2.  Insert the dowels into each corner of the EarthBox. Slide the pvc lengths over the dowels.

3.  Cover with the plastic sheet and clamp. Pin the extra plastic on the ends with a clothespin. The clothespins can also be used to hold the plastic doors on the ends open.



The postmortem and assorted thoughts:

I think that there must be a better answer for the clamps, though I didn’t want to spend ~$1 each for good spring clamps. I want something that can easily be moved around, so something like spring clamps would be desirable. Still working on the right answer.

The cost could have been lower — My first thought was to build a wooden frame and attach the pvc to it using clamps. That’s the “normal” way to do it. But then I thought, hey, I can just push the pvc into the soil in each corner of the EarthBox. *Then* I did some looking around online — it appears that toxins from the pvc could potentially (likely?) release into the soil. How to deal with that?

I chose to do something similar to the buried rebar — I purchased some 3/8″ dowels, cut them to 1′ length, and buried the dowels in the corners of the box. I then slid the pvc over the dowels, leaving the pvc above the soil. In retrospect that was a no-brainer, but I was so fixated on the wooden frame/external support idea that it never occurred to me use the area within the EarthBox to anchor the pvc tubing.

I think it’s interesting that if you were to stick wagon wheels on the sides of the hoop house would look a lot like a covered wagon.

covered wagon

That may mean that it was the right way to do it — form follows function, and both the EarthBox and covered wagon have a similar functions.

Or it’s just a coincidence.


I learned something new. The french “a” thingy is alt and numpad 0226.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s