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"First Garden" now has the "First Hoophouse"

Dec 17, 2009

The White House has recently extended the First Family's garden season by installing hoophouses (or "low tunnels" to be more precise) in the new White House kitchen garden. Here's what White House Food Initiative Coordinator, Sam Kass, had to say about it on the White House blog:

Over the past few weeks, we have worked to prepare the soil for the planting of the winter garden. We are able to extend the growing season by using a simple, inexpensive cover called a high tunnel or hoop house. A hoop house simply amounts to a series of metal bars set in a row over one of the beds, and a fabric or plastic pulled tight around the bars. As the sun warms the garden during the day, the fabric traps the heat in, keeping the plants from freezing overnight. Although there are many kinds of plants that aren’t able to grow even in the hoop houses, we are thrilled to have so many delicious things growing at this very moment!

We have planted spinach, lettuce, carrots, mustard greens, chard and cabbage, and we will add a few more varieties in the next couple weeks. I especially look forward to cooking with the spinach. Winter spinach is extra sweet. Sugar doesn’t freeze, so spinach produces extra sugars in the winter to protect itself from frost. It tastes almost like candy. We are going to make soups, salads and, of course, Chef Comerford’s famous cream-less creamed spinach.

One of the great thing about hoophouses and low tunnels is that they're easy and inexpensive to make. Here are some instructions for building one of your own.


I wonder how the hoop house and vegies held up during the blizzards? I enjoyed reading this Roger, but where are the instructions for building a hoop house of my own?
Sorry Klutzy I had left the link out but have now added it to the post. Thanks, Roger
I have 4x4 4x6, and 4x8 gardens and have been trying to figure out the "hoop" part of this size garden! What are the metal supports used at the White house and where would I find them!! I did a modified version last spring (not so pretty or stable) and want to improve the structure this year! I have a daycare and my children love the gardening. We are adding chickens this year, bees and maple syrup next year (I live in St. Paul, the capital of MN!!!!).
The wonderful Mr. David E. Kelly has PVC hoop houses, that can be made to any size beds. I think it is on the "Small Kitchen Garden" group. My question is do you heat the hoop house or just let the sun do it?
Great job! I never tried making one. How does a hoop house look like? Sorry, I am not really into gardening. Mart from <a href="">enveloppe format a5</a> 

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