A Halfway Home for Seedlings… Cold Frame Hoop House!

I spent Sunday afternoon building a “cold frame hoop house.”  The weather was mild (around freezing) and the work was mostly easy.  I’m happy with the results and hopefully my seedlings will be too when they head outside in a few weeks.  I’m hoping that the structure will help warm the soil upon which it sits a little sooner than the surrounding area so I can dig sooner than would otherwise be possible.  We will see!  If you have any experience with cold frames in a cold climate let me know!

Many thanks to two great lessons for building your own Cold Frame Hoop House:

1)      http://www.thegardenerseden.com/?p=2369

2)      http://youtu.be/v6bWeYCV53A

I used the dimensions from The Gardener’s Eden.

Supplies and Cost:

(I shopped at Swanson’s Home Hardware, Park St., Kitchener, ON)

Qty. Description Cost ($CAD)
3 2x4x8 (2in x 4in x 8ft) $3.33 each (already had 1), so $6.67
2 1/2×10 pipe (½in diameter PVC pipe, 10ft) $4.99 each, $9.98
8 1/2” metal pipe strap (to hold the PVC to the wood) $0.29 each, $2.32
16 1” screws $0.65 (paid by weight)
1 6 mill plastic drop sheet (in painting section) $5-10 (I already had some)
1 Small box of 3” deck screws $5-10 (I already had some too)
1 Small box of 1/2” staples for staple gun $3-5 (I already had these too!)

Hypothetical Total

$32-45 (I $aved about $10-20 thanks to things I already had)

Actual Amount Spent

$19.62 (+$2.55 tax)


  • Power drill
  • Saw
  • Staple gun (or try a household stapler, it might work)

A few tips:

1)  Attach the pipe straps before assembling the base structure to make sure that they are spaced the same.

2)  Initially I didn’t pre-drill my holes for the 3” deck screws and the first one split my wood.  I took it out and drilled a new pilot hole and then it worked great!


3)  It would be good to have a piece of plastic large enough to cover the entire hoop house, so having one that measures about 8’x12’ would be idea.  Mine was only about 10ft wide and reached one end of the frame but not the other.  Attaching the second end of plastic was a bit tricky because in the cold weather it did not want to stick with tape to the hoop.

4)  I omitted the vent because Home Hardware didn’t sell them. This also cut my costs by $20-40.  I will just need to watch the temperature on sunny days to make sure I don’t cook my baby plants!  I’d rather cook them when I’m going to eat them, or not cook them at all…

4)      Since I didn’t buy pressure-treated wood I gave it a quick coat of paint to help it last a bit longer.  I really should have done 2 coats but was running out of paint.  Attach the plastic with a staple gun or good tape and ta-da you’ve got yourself a wonderful, easily transportable (with two people) cold frame hoop house!


This post is shared at An Oregon Cottage’s Tuesday Garden Party: