New Greeenhouse

After last Spring, we realized we needed a bigger hoop house (what was built was 9.5 wide, 17.5 long, and 7 high) and pictures can be found on the Facebook page photo albums.  It was not even close to big enough though. Thank goodness we kept the portable greenhouse kits, which are great by the way, just a tad too small for what we needed and why we built the hoop house.  See a pattern here.  And another big thanks to Hub City Farmers’ Market for the grant to build the hoop house!  It was a game changer for us.  But with us growing more, we need more space to get seeds started and plants growing to their maximum potential.

In comes the new project!  Both exciting and dreaded.  We were fortunate to have been given three really great pole tents, THANKS RICK, that are normally used for temporary outdoor garages, so the polls are strong enough to withhold bad weather.

The project is ongoing, that’s the dreaded part, but the pictures will give you some of the excitement.  We had a tough decision in finding a place for it to go as we are pretty much maxed out in growing space, so it was give up some current growing space or cram it in a small strip.  We opted for the small strip.

We will post more text as we conclude the project, but here you go…

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Basic view.  Frame is 10′ wide and 40′ long.  Height varies as we opted to go shorter to be safe given how it is placed.  These are two separate 10’x20′ that I zipped tied together using 2′ long thick ties.

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There has to be a base to attach the plastic to.  (For the hoop house, I dug a 1′ trench at 20′ and we buried one side and the other we secured the plastic using two 2x4s at 10′ and wrapped the plastic, then used 2′ spikes to anchor it in the ground.  It worked great, but made venting the hoop house very difficult.  And a normal sunny day in even early spring makes it very hot.)

As a result of this lesson learned, we will go with clamps to attach the plastic to the base.  It also anchors down the entire unit and makes it more sturdy.  We harvested 2x4s from old pallets to create this base.  You want to lay the wood down at different size lengths, but still get 40′.

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Time to attach the 2x4s.  We could have made two sections of 20′ each, but we decided to go long and heavy for added negative weight.  The wood we used to attach was harvested 1x2s using 1 and 5/8 exterior wood screws.

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The finished section.  It was a bit heavy turning upright, which gave us the sense it was heavy enough to keep the frame’s plastic down during any heavy wind.

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Added measure: take 1/4″ pipe straps and drive .5″x2′ rebar into the ground.  We used seven per side.  This will hold the base upright and help to keep the frame in place during weather.  We keep harping on this idea of weight to keep the frame down as we know someone who lost an entire polytunnel in a massive wind storm.

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To keep the frame in place we are going with six (6) spiral anchors that are almost 2′ long.  All you do is twist into the ground until the top ring is above the grass.  Once the plastic goes on, we will then attach anchor ratchet straps to each corner of the frame to the anchor.

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Now for the top and bottom entrance to the new greenhouse.  Again, using harvested 2x4s, we measured the frame at each and replicated what it looks like with the wood making it just a tad shorter and wider.  The reason is that we will overlap the plastic when it goes on and attach with 2″ clamps to hold the plastic in place.  Each frame will be driven in the ground and attached using pipe straps and EMT pipe.  Also, two pieces of tbar will be placed and secured to the frame.

The frame is slightly smaller than the metal frame so when the plastic is on it will lay over the metal bars and clamp to the frame.

Here is a good view with the frame and walls up, but no greenhouse plastic (it was windy over the weekend):

View from bedroom window

Well, this weekend was the day we set to put the plastic on the frame. With no rain in the forecast and very light wind for Saturday, we gave it a go.

For the hoop house last year, we purchased 6 mil contractor plastic at Lowe’s for $100.  It accomplished the task, but we also saw rips within six months and a very brittle plastic by then.  To avoid this, we opted to invest about $60 more for the bigger greenhouse and go with a 6 mil greenhouse plastic that will last, per the website, a number of years.  Getting the plastic on was a chore though.  I do like that the company we ordered from gave us more than we ordered on the role.  It helps in making the doors and if needed patching down the road.

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All I have left is to attach the door to what we have labeled the front of the greenhouse (above, left).  Next week will will trim off the excess plastic from the sides and pull the plastic a bit tighter.

UPDATE:  The 2″ clamps work okay. But with a consistent heavy wind, they do slip.  We found out when a good wind made the entire left side come undone. As a result, we reverted to greenhouse aluminum frames on the base and what’s called wiggle wire to hold plastic in place.

Inside greenhouse.

A nice layer of mulch on top of boxes and some heat makes the greenhouse very comfortable.  And the heat builds fast with just a partial day of sun.  More than likely, I will add some venting on a censor that will open and close as needed.  Even with opening up the door, it get fairly humid.

But, we thought we would show you how things are growing now.  As long as the temps remain constant, the growth comes fairly quickly.

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