In the past couple of years I have witnessed many extreme weather changes which
have devastated most home gardens in my area.  Weather extremes are not
unusual, but they are generally not common.  How can a normal person expect to
have a successful garden if every year you are forced to deal with extreme floods
and high winds one month, then two months of triple digit temperatures and drought
conditions, followed by a winter with weeks and months of temperatures dipping
down below freezing?  Preparing, planting, and tending to a fairly large garden is an
investment in both time and money.  If you have an extreme weather condition it
normally just sets you back a little bit, or shortens your production season, but it
doesn't completely destroy your entire season.  Having several extreme weather
conditions in one season destroys your entire season.  Having this happen several
years one after the other and it can destroy your entire motivation to have a garden.

I decided having a garden was something too important to me to just give up on, so
if I wanted a garden in the future I had to come up with a way to control my growing
environment.  For a long time people have used green houses to give themselves a
jump start on a growing season, or extend production at the end of the season.  The
problem with a small green house is just that, it's small and isn't meant for year long
growing, but rather just for starting seeds.  A large green house is very nice, but is
also normally very expensive, and completely out of the budget for most small
gardeners.  Budget was my biggest problem.  Most available funds are going into
my bills and renovations to the new homestead, leaving very little for any additional
projects.  After lots of research I finally decided that building a hoop house might be
a solution for me.
I shot a short video to show people what
my hoop house looks like, and how it was
designed and constructed.

To see the video click on the link below:

Littlewolf Anthropology Hoophouse
I had a small ventilation fan and a large industrial fan running inside the hoop house
this summer.  I also opened up both ends of the house so I could get maximum
ventilation, but the temperature inside the house was getting up around 120
degrees, so I tried a shade cloth to see if it would make a difference.  I strung a 50%
shade cloth over the top of the hoop house.   I was disappointed that the shade
cloth did not provide any relief from the heat.  During the summer the hoop house
would get up well over 100 degrees nearly every day.  The fish did not seem to
mind the hot temperatures, but the plants did not fair as well.  All of the plants in the
aquaponics system began to die in the extreme heat, so I moved them outside into
containers.  At the end of the summer when the temperature began to come down
a bit, I seeded a few of the grow beds, and rooted a couple of cuttings from my
tomato plant.  As the weather got colder I moved a few container plants and trees
into the hoop house.  When the outside temperature was down to 25 degrees, it did
not get lower than 60 inside the house.  If I can figure out a way to control the heat
in the hoop house I think I could have a year round garden.  As you can see from
the photo below, the shade cloth is laid directly on top of the hoop house at this
time.  I think before next summer I will try and run some additional PVC supports
over the top of the hoop house and utilize them to hold the shade cloth up above
the clear cover.  The idea is to create some air space between the two covers, and
if this doesn't initially help with the temperature I may try and position a fan to
circulate the air between the two covers.  My last resort will be to remove the clear
plastic cover on the sides of the hoop house to open everything up.