Hoop houses and greenhouses have many similarities, mainly because they are two of the most common methods crop farmers use to extend the season. With either of them, you can grow plants in any season because they provide favorable conditions regardless of what's going on outside.
The main difference between a greenhouse and a hoop house is that a hoop house has taller posts than a greenhouse. In a greenhouse, heat control is done manually, while in a hoop house, temperature control is done naturally through the doors and windows.
However, they differ greatly in cost, season needed size, and other aspects. The choice between the two structures depends on the season, the crops involved, and the available capital.
The main differences between hoop houses and greenhouses are as follows.
In controlling the heat and air inside both structures, greenhouses have exhaust fans, heaters, and grow lights to maintain certain conditions within the structure. This ensures that the conditions inside the structure are kept within certain limits.
On the other hand, the climatic conditions inside the hoop house are controlled manually by opening and closing the end walls. On mornings when warmer temperatures are expected, the end walls are raised.
This allows air and moisture to circulate freely within the hoop house. In the evening and when cold weather is expected, the walls are lowered to increase the temperature inside the structure.
One thing to keep in mind is that hoop houses are often a mix between controlled environments and greenhouse conditions. Although they work primarily manually, in some cases the hoop house requires electricity to heat it (e.g. in winter).
In terms of setup and operating costs, you spend much less on a hoop house or high tunnel compared to the greenhouse cost. That is, hoop houses cost less. First of all, hoop houses are usually smaller than greenhouses. This means that you need less material to build them compared to a greenhouse. You also need less labor.
Another aspect that reduces the cost of hoop houses is the cost of operation. Unlike greenhouses, which require electricity to maintain certain conditions, hoop houses require little to no electricity to operate.
For greenhouses, they can be as large as an entire city, depending on the amount of space required and available. Essentially, if you want to grow tender plants such as dwarf and tall tomatoes on a large scale in a controlled environment, then you should choose a greenhouse over a hoop house.
Hoop houses tend to be smaller and have fewer connections to other structures or other hoop houses. Often, if you need a larger hoop house, you can simply remove one wall and create another section. After a certain size, the hoop house becomes a greenhouse.
If your plan is to grow seasonal crops in the fall or spring rather than the main summer and winter seasons, then a hoop house is a more logical choice because it allows you to control the conditions in the structure without spending too much on it.
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