Season Extension and Crop Area Multiplication with a Moveable Hoophouse in an Organic System

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional + Producer
Funds awarded in 2007: $11,230.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2009
Region: Western
State: Colorado
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Edward Page
CSU Extension


  • Fruits: berries (brambles), berries (strawberries)
  • Vegetables: beans, peppers, tomatoes


  • Crop Production: cover crops, double cropping, intercropping, organic fertilizers
  • Education and Training: demonstration, extension, farmer to farmer, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research
  • Farm Business Management: feasibility study
  • Production Systems: general crop production
  • Soil Management: green manures


    A moveable hoophouse was used to test the difference between protected and non-protected crops on plots of 24’ x 32’. Treatments included two plots for perennials and three plots for annuals, which allowed a rotation to a cover crop. Annual crops that especially needed protection from killing frost and warm nighttime temperatures, including tomatoes, winter greens, long beans and okra had significant increases in production. It was more difficult to determine benefits for perennials chosen. Asparagus avoided a spring freeze that would have killed plants back to the ground, which significantly increased production; and raspberries, due to establishment problems, will produce the first mature crop the 2010 season.


    The purpose of the Moveable Hoophouse (HH) project was to determine how to manage a protective structure that could benefit more than one or two crops in a year. The project addressed one of the two biggest problems that an organic farmer/gardener faces; the vagaries of weather. Weeds seem, like our crops, to be quite happy to be protected from the elements.

    The 24’ x 32’ HH was designed with a set of runners on which to slide from plot to plot, with five trial and five adjacent control plots.

    Project objectives:

    The objectives of the project were:

    • To demonstrate that a single structure could be used to protect several crops at different times of the year on different plots of land.

    • To extend the season of production, and thereby increase the employment opportunity for the farmer.

    • To do local, regional and interstate outreach to show the potential of this idea to others.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.