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In 2005 the SOF crew began the process of building hoophouses at the Calhoun Field Laboratory. A hoophouse is simply a series of hoops covered by a plastic skin. Less permanent than the traditional greenhouse, the hoophouse offers an affordable alternative. The microsystem created by the hoophouse extends the growing season by protecting plants from cold temperatures. Plants such as tomatoes can be planted in a hoophouse much earlier in the season, allowing for earlier yield production. When cooler temperatures return in the fall, plants such as peppers can be planted in the hoophouse to allow for later yield production.
Four hoophouses have been created at the Student Organic Farm. The most recent addition, the sliding hoophouse, is an innovative variation on the traditional hoophouse. The moveability of this hoophouse prevents the plants from heat damage once hot, summer conditions arise. To see a more detailed explanation on the construction of the sliding hoophouse, click here.