I'm in the middle-phase of planning an Elliot Coleman gothic hoop house. I have ordered the pipe bender from JohnnySeeds.com and am wondering if anyone has any experience in building in a cold climate such as Alaska. I was recently told that Poly plastic can get very brittle in extreme cold and break. This is causing me to second guess this type of structure, because replacing plastic every spring would not be cost effective. Any thoughts on the matter would be greatly appreciated.


2 Answers 2


There is 28 pages of guidance with many images at Building the Gothic Modular Moveable Tunnel Designed By Eliot Coleman at Four Season Farm courtesy of Johnny’s Selected Seeds. It is both copyrighted and too long to summarise meaningfully in just a few paragraphs.

Skinning there was with Tufflite IV Greenhouse Film.


I know this is an old post, but I never did follow up with a progress report. The greenhouse has been up since ~April 2017. Has seen many winters with many snowloads, and no issues with the plastic tearing, or arches sagging/bowing. When I was putting up the greenhouse, I did manage to make three time-lapse videos that I recently put on YouTube here:

Video 1
Video 2
Video 3

Cameos from a mix of friends, housemates, and neighbors.

Had a crew of friends come over for a pizza-and-beer incentivized "skinning" of the high-tunnel party. Here is the first picture of the nearly finished product: enter image description here

The greenhouse makes for an amazing winter shelter for chickens, especially once the ground freezes and gets snow-covered. Also, once all the plants are frost killed in autumn, the chickens do their best to get at all the bugs that took up residence over the summer.

enter image description here

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