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How to Build A Mini Garden Hoop Tunnel

Cooler weather has arrived in southeastern Pennsylvania.  In my garden lettuce, kale and Swiss chard are still growing.  

It's time to extend the growing season by installing a mini hoop tunnel over these vegetables.  The hoop garden tunnel isn't just a season extender; it can be used in a variety of ways.

Mini Garden Hoop Tunnel - fb

What is a mini garden hoop tunnel?

A mini garden hoop tunnel is exactly what it sounds like: a miniature garden tunnel.  But unlike large walk-in structures, these tunnels are perfect for a small backyard or urban garden.  A garden mini hoop tunnel for raised beds is quick to build, easy to use and made with inexpensive materials.

A garden hoop tunnel is one of the best investments you can make as a gardener allowing you to double or even triple your annual yield each year.

Ways to use a mini garden hoop tunnel

  • Frost protection
  • Extend the growing season
  • Winter gardening
  • Get a jump start on spring gardening
  • Create shade in summer
  • Pest and bug protection
  • Prevent deer and rabbits from nibbling on vegetable leaves

Let me show you how I built my garden hoop tunnel by watching this video or continue reading this post.  

Want to grow food indoors in the winter?  Set up a hydroponic garden in your home. 



COMPLETE VIDEO TUTORIAL AVAILABLE! The video below is a preview with no audio, to watch the whole video tutorial, click the link How to Build A Mini Garden Hoop Tunnel to watch in Youtube.


Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. We make a small commission on sales through the affiliate links, at no extra cost to you. Thank you in advance for your purchase and your support! Please see our full Affiliate Statement for more information.

As you can see from the following pictures taken at the end of October, my garden is still producing vegetables.  

Mini GardenHoop Tunnel Veggies In Garden

I’m going to share with you what I use and how I construct my mini hoop tunnel over these vegetables. This mini hoop tunnel is as simple as they come - I can erect it in about a half hour.

Mini Hoop Tunnel Plastic Installed

Instead of buying a premade mini hoop tunnel, you can make one for yourself rather affordably.  After the initial investment, the frame and cover material can be used year after year.  Occasionally you'll need to purchase more cover material.

Learning how to build a mini hoop tunnel is a quick process with these five easy steps.

supplies for the mini hoop tunnel:

For the frame I used:

  • 4 - 1/2" PVC Pipes, each 8 1/2 feet long
  • 1 - 1/2" x 1 1/2" Wood Strip, 8 feet long (wood I already had)
  • 4 - Wing Nut Screws

For the Covering:

  • Heavy Duty Plastic Material 4 mil thick

Note: If you plan on using the tunnel for another purpose than during the winter, purchase a different covering material such as a lightweight shade cloth, row cover or deer/bird netting.

To secure the plastic:

  • Snap Clamps
  • Bricks
  • Wood

Mini Hoop Tunnel Supplies

INSTRUCTIONS for building the mini hoop tunnel

A mini hoop tunnel has two basic components: the frame and the covering.

STEP 1: gather the hoop material

Gather the materials needed to make the mini hoop tunnel from the supplies list above.

Of course, you could purchase garden hoops from a gardening supplies store but I choose to use PVC pipes for the ribs because of their accessibility, durability, bendability and price. 

A center ridge support, the length of the tunnel, is needed to strengthen the structure again snow and wind.  Mine was a piece of wood leftover from another project.

Mini Hoop Tunnel Hoops and Cross support

After a little experimentation, I cut PVC pipe ribs for my 4' x 8' raised bed 8 1/2 feet long. 

Depending on the size of your gardening bed, the length of the PVC pipe may have to be adjusted.   The PVC hoops should be long enough to bend into a half circle over the garden bed.

The wood center support does not have to be fancy.  You can use an old length of wood.  The wood used for this mini hoop tunnel was 1 1/2" x 1/2" x 8'.  

STEP 2: Secure PVC hoops

The PVC hoops can be secured in several ways.  

The first way - use PVC pipe! When constructing my raised bed, I attached PVC supports to the bed.  To do this, I purchased a 1 1/2" diameter PVC pipe.  Cut it down into shorter lengths and attached the short pieces about every 2 1/2 feet or so with metal straps.

When it's time to erect the tunnel all I have to do is insert the end of the PVC rib pipe into the PVC pipes attached to the bed.

Mini Hoop Tunnel PVC In Garden Bed

The second way - use rebar!  Pound 1-foot rebar stacks into the soil.  Then slip the ends of the PVC rib pipes over the rebar.

Garden Hoops for Raised BedOnce the PVC hoops are in place, the skeleton of your mini hoop tunnel is complete.

STEP 3: attach the center wood ridge support 

The center wood support links the hoops together and stabilizes the structure.   It will also support the cover to prevent sagging. 

Mini Hoop Tunnel Cross Support installed

The ridge pole and the hoops need to be secured with wing screws.  Grab your drill and drill holes through the wood and hoops.

After drilling, attach the ridge pole and hoops together with wing screws.

Mini Hoop Tunnel Closeup of cross support

Using wing nut screws makes assembly and disassembly so easy.

STEP 4: cover the tunnel

For the tunnel cover if using it as a season extender or winter gardening,  purchase heavy-duty 4 mil polythene (if using for another purpose purchase whatever covering if appropriate) at the hardware store.

Mini Hoop Tunnel Plastic

Since I'm extending the growing season and doing some winter gardening, heavy-duty plastic is being used. 

Unroll the plastic.  Hold or secure the edge of the plastic against the ground on one end.  Allow it to come up the tunnel end, lie atop the hoops and continue to the ground on the other end of the bed.  Be sure the material reaches the ground on both sides before cutting.

Finally, cut, unfold the material and stretch it over the hoops.

STEP 5: secure the cover in place

It is essential to secure the cover to the hoops so that they don’t blow off in windy or stormy weather.  I use a combination of things.

Snap clamps (pictured below) used to hold material on tubular frames are an excellent choice to hold the cover to the PVC hoops. 

Mini Hoop Tunnel Clips

To weigh down the sides and ends of the material use whatever is handy such as bricks, wood, and stones; evenly gallon bottles filled with water will work.

Mini Hoop Tunnel Plastic Installed 2

Voila! You have a simple hoop garden tunnel.  

This garden tunnel with heavy-duty plastic is designed to trap solar radiation during the day, creating a warm and protected environment for growing plants. 

But if the weather becomes unseasonably warm, it's easy to open the ends or sides of the tunnel to vent and promote good airflow and reduces the temperature beneath the cover. 

Mini Hoop Tunnel Ventilate when needed

Do You Need to Water the mini hoop tunnel?

In my cold climate with a winter tunnel, plants are not actively growing and evaporation is slow so I don't water the tunnel in winter.

In the spring and fall if the covering is plastic, watering regularly is necessary because the closed structure can heat up and evaporation will speed up.  If the weather is mild and rainy, remove the cover and let Mother Nature give the bed a good soaking. Or hand water.

When using a row cover or bird mesh, rain can pass through so it's not necessary to water unless the season is unreasonably dry.

If you liked this article, don’t forget to share it with your gardening friends and family! It may help them with their gardening experience!

Needlepointers.com has a page dedicated to Sustainable, Organic Gardening and Foraging that you may enjoy.  Also, check out our Gardening and Garden Decor Pinterest Board for lots of information. 

Happy Gardening!
Annette

QUESTIONS?

If you have any questions about this project, contact us through the YouTube Video comments or our Contact Us page. We respond to questions in e-mails and YouTube comments regularly.

You may be interested in these gardening ideas

DIY Raised Garden Bed Cover

Animal Proof Raised Garden Beds

Supporting Products and links: Some of the links below may be affiliate links. We make a small commission on sales through the affiliate links, at no extra cost to you. Thank you in advance for your purchase and your support! Please see our full Affiliate Statement for more information.

Backyard Winter Gardening

Backyard Winter Gardening #ad

This is a great guide for growing fresh and simple vegetables in any climate without artificial heat in the winter. by Caleb Warnock - Paperback - Published 2013 Affiliate Link to Amazon

Growing Under Cover

Growing Under Cover #ad

In this in-depth guide, Niki Jabbour shows how to use small solutions like cloches, row covers, shade cloth, cold frames, and hoop houses, as well as larger protective structures like greenhouses and polytunnels, to create controlled growing spaces for vegetables to thrive. by Niki Jabbour - Paperback - Published 2020 Affiliate Link to Amazon

Snap Clamps - White, Pack of 10

Snap Clamps - White, Pack of 10 #ad

Snap Clamp fits 1/2 EMT which can hold material on tubular frames such as greenhouses, row covers, shelters, quilting frames, hoop tunnels and more. Affiliate Link to Amazon

Wing Nut Screws #ad

Here find various length and sizes of wing nut screws. Affiliate Link to Amazon

Year-Round Gardening

Year-Round Gardening #ad

Growing Vegetables and Herbs, Inside or Outside, in Every Season!
Year-Round Gardening includes inspiring and expert tips on which vegetables, herbs, and spices suit the different seasons. Certain plants can even be harvested in the middle of winter if handled correctly. Others, like microgreens, herbs, and hydroculture, can create the perfect indoor gardens.
by Lena Israelsson - Paperback Affiliate Link to Amazon






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