Cattle Panel Hoophouse Greenhouse

Great design on this cattle panel greenhouse in the video. The gentleman in the video designed the idea years ago. 15 years ago everyone made their hoophouse for their greens out of clothesline wire and then we simply through plastic on. I’m assuming he did those hoophouse first as well and modified the design. The original hoophouse we grew greens in was 6"- 2 feet tall. We are using that plastic method now on turnips but without the wire Cheating the growing season a little with turnips! . High tunnels became a big deal in the Midwest a few years ago but now there are greenhouses. Wait long enough and things typically get better which is the case with growing things outside in the winter .

If your living in a colder evironment with heavy snow you will be glad to know this design holds up


Nice. However if you have sunny winters, that design will cook your turnip greens for you too.
A bottom vent, or maybe lifting a side will allow more air to flow to modulate the inside temps some on sunny days when the inside temp rises fast. There are other measures to help adjust temps too. It depends on your outside temps and cloudiness. I have to say it: All hoophousing is local. :blush:


I built one similar to this. I found it very difficult to regulate temperature with a greenhouse that small. It would be well over 100 degrees mid day in March and not retain any of the heat overnight.

With your land and access to equipment, you could look at building a earth sheltered greenhouse into the side of a South facing hill. That would be bad ass.


Texas prepper used a device that heats oil inside the cylinder from harbor freight when the green house goes above 80 automatically opening a window. Here is a similar vent opening device

Here’s the description

Ingenious temperature-sensitive devices automatically open and close cold frame lids, greenhouse windows and even skylights throughout the day and maintain a constant interior climate, something impossible to achieve by manual adjustments. Requires no batteries or electricity, it starts opening between 55—75°F, depending on how you have adjusted the vent. Strongly recommended for all our glazed season extenders because it dramatically improves plant growth. Screw directly into polycarbonate panels, wood, or metal frames. Use the Standard Vent Opener to lift up to 15 lbs, and the much stronger Gigavent, with all metal construction, to lift up to 65 lbs.

Features & details

Solar Vent Opener can lift up to 15 lbsStarts opening between 55 - 75°F, depending on how you have adjusted the vent.Screw directly into polycarbonate panels, wood, or metal frames.

Product information

Product Dimensions11.8 x 2 x 2 inchesItem Weight14.4 ouncesShipping Weight14.4 ouncesManufacturerAgriculture Solutions LLCASINB0036EJ9HWManufacturer referenceUniventCustomer Reviews4.4 out of 5 stars 229Reviews


Great idea Mike but I think I will use a 6 -8 panel hoophouse with a homemade wood stove and window vent. I will only use it for starting tomatoes about 1 month out of the year. There is lots of money in both tomato plants and tomatoes. If you and I will pooled all our resources and grew 200 acres of tomatoes a year we still would not fill a fraction of the need. Many consumers use 3-5 pounds of tomatoes per week if you think about salsa, soup, spaghetti sauce, ketchup, tomato juice/ v8, cocktail sauce, bloody Mary, dried tomatoes, canned tomatoes, etc… Americans, Italians, Mexicans etc. have a love for tomatoes and I’m sure what people love is where they spend their money. I know if I start hundreds of plants in advance I can grow tomatoes that taste better than what most people have ever had. Due to our climate where extra hot days and nights with lack of water brings out flavor a person could get rich selling tomatoes on a large scale. My aronia business is good because of the higher quality of the fruit but aronia will always be a speciality crop since only about 10% of the population enjoy the flavor. Could you imagine something like tomatoes where 90% of the population population likes them?

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I’m sure you could wholesale as many as you could grow. The trick would be finding the right high production verities that could be grown outdoors without cracking and splitting. Like apples, the tastiest verities of tomatoes are not usually great for commercial production.

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You might do well just starting the plants and selling them.


Just don’t try to build one here:


That’s shocking that they can ban hoop houses in some places. I would move asap like others have from those highly regulated cities such as Chicago. Love to visit those cities but i dony stay.


Thanks Clark, I have 2 of those, one on each eave (see in pic below). Plus, I use a cheap solar powered fan (the kind used to cool off attics) to blow in outside air at ground level - only needed when sun is out so solar made the most sense.
Even so, on days like today I need to go out and open some of the sides, or my lettuce, spinach & cilantro might bolt. The temps went into the teens with this last arctic dip so I had to also use additional row cover.

BTW this is not heated and I take the plastic off some time in April.


Your green house looks great! I’ve seen people use glass cold frames inside as well with a vent opening device for winter greens.

In this video just uploaded today, Patrick outlines strategies for growing in a hoop house with temps down to -23 deg. It is doable with certain plants.


My mother years ago covered plants at times with old blankets as well as putting blankets on her car hood to keep in the heat. We packed straw around everything in those days. Reminded me of my childhood except he seemed like he was taking the cold like it was no big deal.
I sometimes covered up with grass or leaves when hunting as a kid and felt an increase in temperature. The South side of the house was always warm when I was a kid and at times we only played there when it was to cold elsewhere. The guy in the video really knew every trick in the book to raise a winter garden. He seems wiser than his years. Great info @JustAnne4!


He’s excellent, Anne. I enjoy the ones about gardening practices he’s abandoned as well, and always enjoy seeing Oscar’s cameo’s.


I did something similar with my chicken run. When I had fewer hens their run was solely the hoop section you see. When we added more hens, we expanded the run, but left the hoop. We cover it in plastic in the winter so they have a dry outside space to be, and with light colored weed fabric in the summer to give some shade, and we can wet it down for a cooling effect. When it was the only run I enclosed it pretty fully with plastic and left vents near the top. It works pretty well, if I get out of the chicken business, it will be converted to a greenhouse.


I suspect everyone who is interested is trying to find greenhouse supplies so I thought since I was researching supplies anyway I would help out others and list some supply places;ft_greenhouse_equipment.html

Cattle panels can be found at (I would suggest standard 16 feet x 48")

Here are the authors original plans he sells and his video and links Greenhouse (Edited Versi should you want those.

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So far I acquired 6 cattle panels for $20 each at TSC. Bought 2 2"x6"x8’ and 5 2"x6"x10’ cedar boards for the bottom frame at home depot. Cedar was more expensive by $1 or so per board but insects don’t care for it. In termite country that cedar may have been a good choice. Planning to cut 1 foot off each side of the 8 footers and and cut one of the 10 footers in half. Then I will screw together the 2 10 footers and 1 five footer on each side and use the 2 seven footers on the ends. I ordered some 6 mil remnant plastic and we will see how that goes. The vent opener I ordered from ebay for $30 from a long time seller with a near 100% rating. Still putting it together in my mind though the way I calculated this so far is 6 panels x 50" per panel = 300 inches / 12 = 25 feet. If the panels are bent to 7 feet between them on the front and the back the peak will be roughly 6 feet. I have some supplies from a hot house I built last year and I will reuse those supplies to frame the ends, door, window etc… If you see something I missed I would sure appreciate you telling me now. Was really tempted to go geothermal though this greenhouse will be used for greens and tomato starts so I’m not sure I would get out of it what I would put in it. Double wall plastic would be nice also and again I’m tempted but can I justify the cost? Solar a good option on running any needed electricity?

Just a thought on bed size and fencing-

When we initially build our beds we decided on a four foot width because that way we could easily work the beds from either side- you almost never have to climb in them. But when we added cattle panels to the sides and ends of the exterior beds I realized it was harder to work the further edge of the bed. So that might be a consideration when you decide the bed width.

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Mark I have an unlimited supply of cow manure for the beds but I’ve not worked that out in my mind yet. I’m not screwing down a single screw until I do. Considered making the beds 2-3’ tall so I would bend over less. If you’ve picked many green beans or strawberries you know what I mean. It would be better to build the beds before I put on the plastic if I go that way.

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This is a geothermal system if anyone is thinking of going that way

This thread discusses it further