Eulogy to a Greenhouse

our sweet hoophouse in its glory days

The weather is starting to warm up and it is time for hibernating farmers to wake up from a winter slumber and get back to work.  Yesterday, we kicked off the season by taking down the remainder of our collapsed greenhouse (technically it was a hoophouse because it was covered in soft plastic).

We used the greenhouse for 5 years on our farm.  It provided warmth for early and late tomatoes and strawberries and sheltered giant rosemary and lavender plants in the winter.  Over the years, we harvested thousands of pounds of full sized tomatoes and hundreds cases of our favorite sungolds from that greenhouse. It protected so many plants from early frosts, late frosts, and disease and fungus that hit nearby fields.

what was left of our once lovely hoophouse

A little less than 14 months ago, our greenhouse collapsed under the weight of snow and ice during a giant blizzard.  This Washington Post story will bring back memories of of the storm for those in the area.

During the storm, we could not knock the snow off our greenhouse because we were miles away. I was pregnant and a week past my due date so we weathered the storm in a hotel room next to the hospital.  When we returned home with a healthy baby it seemed a tiny price to pay. But it was still a tough loss.

It was a busy year and it took a while to decide if we should try to use the remaining pieces to rebuild, or just tear them down and start fresh. But the damage was pretty severe (it turns out snow  can really bend and warp  heavyweight steel pipes).  So we finally decided to go with the fresh start.   In a few weeks, we hope to build a new greehhouse, and the earliest crops will start going in the ground but right now the field is a blank slate.

newly cleared field


  1. I can’t even begin to feel your pain at the loss of such a nice green house. I lost quite a few cold frame panels last year to our multiple two foot snows, yet that pales in comparison to your hoop house. Ferocious winds yesterday make me anxious to see if I have damage as the day progresses. Best of luck with your rebuilding.

  2. Thanks for your comment. We worried yesterday and last night with the extreme winds too. We have a couple of smaller greenhouses that are up now but they seem to handle high winds pretty well. I hope your cold frames make it through the winds intact. I will post pictures as we rebuild.

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