Frequently asked questions
Planning and preparation
- Do Nifty hoops qualify for the USDA NRCS EQIP program funding?
Yes! All of our structures qualify, and many of the structures we build are funded with help from EQIP. To learn more about the program, visit your local USDA field office or go to visit the High Tunnel System Initiative website.
- How do I need to prepare my hoophouse site?
If you're planning to grow in the soil within your hoophouse, its best to take care of any tillage in advance of your hoophouse build. Plan an extra four feet or so around the footprint of the structure. Also, if you'll be adding any large scale amendments, like a truckload of compost, do this beforehand! Otherwise you'll be moving it in with a bucket loader or a wheelbarrow. Better to dump it and spread it beforehand!
- Does my site need to be level?
Your site does not need to be "bubble level". We're really looking for a flat plane, even if its on a grade. We will use our laser levels to run the hoophouse with the hill. Any more than 6-8" of deviation from the plane, or rolls in your topography, however, can cause issues with your baseboards when we install. Best to make it flat!
- How late in the season can we build a hoophouse? How early?
We can build year-round so long as the ground isn't frozen solid. In Michigan, we can generally build from April through December, although at the margins we certainly deal with some more challenging conditions. If you're further south or near a coastline, there's a good chance your window is wide open!
- What is Nifty’s lead time?
Depending on demand, we are generally able to fabricate and finish your hoophouse within a month. Once we are on your farm, we generally finish the build in one day if we are fully installing your hoophouse.
Building your hoophouse
- Can I build my own Nifty hoop? Can Nifty build it for me?
Yes! We can roll to your farm and build your hoophouse for you -- we usually finish in one day (instant hoophouse!) We also work with growers with our Starter Builds -- we'll come and spend six hours with you unloading your materials, laying out your structure, setting groundposts with our gas-powered post pounder and laser leveling tools, and staging and training you on the rest of the installation process. We can also work with your friends and neighbors to lead a community build -- like an old-school barn raising. We support starter build growers with our video series at niftyhoops.com/support.
- How long does it take to build my hoophouse?
When we're building it for you, we generally finish in one day. If we're doing a starter build for you, it depends on the size of your high tunnel. Best to figure a month of Sundays, or if you have some friends to help, around 50 human-hours for a 30'x72' structure. Be sure to make some popcorn and check out our video series at niftyhoops.com/support if you want your work to be as effective and efficient as possible.
Using your hoophouse
- How do Nifty hoops hold up against wind and snow?
We designed these hoophouses for use through the deep winter in the far north. They hold up exceedingly well under snow loads and in harrowing winds. Our long crossbrace and triple-gusseted bows, together with steel-framed endwalls and woven poly roll-ups and endwalls covers, make Niftys the toughest hoophouse on the market, hands down.
That said, there are things you can do to make your hoophouse last even longer. Remove snow when possible from around the edges of your structure so it doesn't drift and pile up around it, and wire down your endwall equipment doors through the winter and during high wind events.
- Can I grow year-round in my hoophouse?
You certainly can. Even in northern Michigan, Nifty growers are growing harvesting 52 weeks of the year with no supplemental heat -- just the sun! Timing is everything, but with a few tricks you can keep a great diversity of cold-hardy crops growing clear through the cold season. Ask us for tips!
- Can I install lights and heaters in my Nifty hoop?
Yes. If you're putting in a very large heater, its best if you provide some support from below. Ask us if you need help figuring out how to do this.
- Do Nifty hoops have a warranty? Can I buy replacement parts from Nifty?
Nifty Hoops warrants your structure against defects in parts and workmanship under normal use for (1) year from the date of construction (Warranty Period). If a valid claim is received within the Warranty Period, Nifty Hoops will repair or replace any defective parts and/or correct workmanship issues. This warranty gives you specific legal rights. You may also have other rights which vary by jurisdiction. This warranty is limited to repair or replacement at the discretion of Nifty Hoops. Warranty service may be obtained by contacting email@example.com or calling 734-845-0079