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Sunday, February 19, 2006

Hoophouse how To-Part 3

Last in a Series

Detail of how 10’ conduit is held together

Trench for anchoring plastic. Either a shovel or plow will work. What we do is turn the soil and move it to the edge of the trench, put the plastic over the frame, center it than put the edges in the trench and with a shovel put the soil back over the plastic.

Finished hoophouse. the edges are kept down with large rocks, tires, milk crates filled with rocks. Any heavy but movable item.

Detail of how we keep ends open and the houses vented in warm weather using a pole stuck between the plastic and a hoop. In hot weather (above 80˚F) we will dig up one edge of the plastic and take it off the hoops and leave it to the side (so it can be put back on quickly if we get a cold spell which has happened the past 6 springs-weeks of hot weather followed by a frost.)

A few things I should mention. You will need to irrigate in a hoophouse. We use drip irrigation. The irrigation and plastic mulch, if you are using that, need to go down before the hoophouse goes up.

If you are doing tomatoes or anything else that will be trellised get the materials you will be using erected before the plastic goes on. You cannot use a post driver with 2' of head space for a 7' fence stake.

The rebar needs some discussion (and some photos too but I don't have any right now). we put washers on the rebar so it does not sink too far into the ground. without the washers the wind will pound the rebar and conduit into the ground sometimes 2" or more so the houses get rather short. The washers stop this. We have used big (2") metal washers as well as pieces of 2"x4" with holes drilled in them for the rebar.

The structures are passively heated. we do not use any auxillery heat but we do suppliment heat with buckets of water, dark mulches and row covers.

That is it. Simple to put up with no power tools. It takes about 2 to 3 hours for one person to put one of these structures up if they do not have to bend conduit (which you only have to do once but will add several hours to the task). It takes about 45 minutes to take one down with one person. If you have several people you can put one up in about 10 minutes (we did this at a farm tour/workshop we had a few years ago-had 10 people put up one of these complete with plastic dug in in about 15 minutes with only one person knowing what to do).


Joe said...

Very cool posts on hoophouses, Lucy. Thanks.

Angie said...

Thanks, Lucy - this is great - sorry to be such a pest - but am really excited about not having to spend so much $$ on a hoophouse. We will be collecting what we need next week and hoping to get started. Although, winter has decided to rear it's ugly head and the ground is pretty frozen - but we'll figure it out! Thanks again.