A lot of our members want greenhouses, even though you can easily do the Backyard Nursery Business with one. I don’t have one. Had one, took it down. Everything I do is without a greenhouse. If I were to do 30,000 or 50,000 Rhododendron cuttings each year for that I’d build a greenhouse. Everything else does fine without one.
So anyway, they often make structures out of PVC pipe or cattle panels bent over in a hoop shape. All of that is fine, but those who live in snow country like I do have no idea what it really takes to keep snow from crushing your greenhouse, hoop house, or high tunnel structure.
Recently I was visiting a nursery here in Ohio when this sight caught my eye. I’ve seen situations like this before but never had photos to show people. The owner of the nursery gave me permission to share these photos online. This hoop house was covered with plastic and Heated when this collapse happened. Yes, it was heated!
The pipes that this house was made of are one inch in diameter, steel pipe. Most people think that snow can’t possibly bring them down like this.
I’ve seen this happen before and usually when it happens dozens of houses all collapse on the same night. And they always look like this. What often happens is the plastic will usually stay pretty clear of snow, the snow slides right off. But if you get an unusual combination of winter weather events like freezing rain that clings to the plastic, then more snow that won’t slide off because the rain frozen to the plastic creates a rough surface that keeps the snow from sliding, then more snow or rain and all of a sudden it all comes crashing down.
If you have house like this that you are using as a greenhouse and have it heated and full of valuable plants that are leafed out and actively growing, not only do you lose your hoop house. But you can also lose tens of thousands of dollars worth of plants because the plastic tears and everything inside freezes.
That’s just one of the reasons that I don’t have a greenhouse. One less thing for me to worry about.
So anyway, if you live in snow country, don’t underestimate the power of Mother Nature.