High Tunnels/Hoop Houses

Del Jimenez Speaking at Field Day 2016 in Front of Hoop House
Del Jimenez (Photo Taken by Adrienne Rosenberg)

Del Jimenez, Agriculture Specialist, originally began teaching how to build hoop houses and high tunnels as a way to help local farmers prolong the growing season with low-cost materials that could be found at a nearby hardware store. He also wanted the structures to be as low maintenance as possible. Today, SASC experiments with these structures by planting winter production leafy greens, blackberries, trees, cucumbers, and most recently tomatoes as a part of the Johnson-Su Bioreactor Compost Experiment! During the summer months, the annual hoops are filled with cover crops in order to manage the soil.

Recently, Steve Guldan received the 2016 Jose Fernandez Chair to continue his research of developing year-round, intensive, high-value production systems using high tunnels. Results will be made available to farmers, educators, scientists, etc., through publications, press releases, field days, and workshops.

SASC at Alcalde Publications

How-to Guides and Circulars

  • Guide H 252_ Hoop House Vegetable Production
    If you are an enthusiastic vegetable gardener who is ready to take the next step towards increasing production in your garden, installing a hoop house is a worthwhile endeavor. A hoop house can boost the temperature within, which can extend the growing season for warm-season vegetables. The structure also provides adequate protection for cool-season vegetables to prolong their harvest throughout the winter months. A hoop house can be used to modify your crop's overall environment, or microclimate, including temperature, wind, and humidity.
  • Circular 606_High Tunnel Hoop House Construction for New Mexico
    Hoop houses are ecosystems all in themselves, and the environment inside can be manipulated to a crop's need. Hoop houses can extend the growing season, since you may plant early, and the collection of heat units with the plant is higher resulting in earlier harvesting. Planting in late summer and early fall allows you to produce and harvest into the winter months. Planting in a protected environment guards the crop from Mother Nature's whims and control the crop's quality. Using the hoop house for season extension increases income over a longer period of the year and allows the use of different marketing strategies.

Additional NMSU Publications

  • Circular 556_Greenhouse Vegetable Production
    Greenhouse vegetable production has traditionally been located near population centers, primarily in the northeastern United States. Improved transportation and high energy costs have forced the industry south. With light being one of the most important factors in greenhouse vegetable production, the Southwest has become an ideal area for future development of this industry, particularly in the winter months when tomato and cucumber prices are at a premium.

Journal Articles & External Publications

NMSU Staff Conducting Cucumber Trials
David Archuleta and Rob Heyduck Measuring Cucumbers in High Tunnel (Photo Taken by Adrienne Rosenberg)
  • "The Economics of Low-cost High Tunnels for Winter Vegetable Production in the Southwestern United States", HortTechnology, Vol. 24, No. 1, February 2014:
    Relatively little season extension research has been conducted in the southwestern United States, particularly with low-cost high tunnels or hoop houses for small-scale farmers. In this study, the economics of winter production of two leafy crops [lettuce (Lactuca sativa) and spinach (Spinacia oleracea)] in high tunnels in two locations in New Mexico were investigated, first using a simulation analysis in which yields were stochastic variables followed by a sensitivity analysis to examine returns from the high tunnel designs more closely. Authors: Emmanuel Alves Dos Santos Hecher, Constance L. Falk, Juliette Enfield, Steven J. Guldan, and Mark E. Uchanski.

Additional Links & Materials

YouTube Videos

Building a Cold-Frame Greenhouse with Del Jimenez

Building a Cold Frame Greenhouse... (Navajo)

NMSU Extension Service Hoop Houses Project

Student-Built: NMSU Hoop Houses for Hort 100 Research