Ohiofarmgirl's Adventures in The Good Land is largely a fish out of water tale about how I eventually found my footing on a small farm in an Amish town. We are a mostly organic, somewhat self sufficient, sustainable farm in Ohio. There's action and adventure and I'll always tell you the truth about farming.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Project Goals: Hoop House Green House

I'm beginning to get concerned whether spring is ever going to show up with this infernal Winter That Won't End.  Sure last year we had snow about this time but we also had some warm days...and the year before that we already had some real spring days. But it isn't looking like we will have warmer weather for a while. It's making me anxious to get the growing season going. So I believe this is going to be the year of the hoop house. You'll remember that my pal, Bourbon Red has a couple of them. I figure I can put one together, cover it with heavy duty plastic and call it a green house.

Look how big and roomy it is. Perfect for a greenhouse.

Unfortunately the original instructions link for "how to" is now dead so I need to look around for another set of instructions. The best I could find were these easy steps here. Altho I will build the wooden frame first and affix the panels on top of the rails as indicated below. And this guy did a terrific job with a really fancy version.  Here is what I learned from helping Bourbon Red with one of his hoop houses:
(From original post here)

This project was 10x12', used 3 16' panels for the hoop part, a couple of horse fence sections for the end, a tarp for the cover, and a door made of materials on hand. The cost of goods was about $200 and was really pretty easy. You'll need a miter saw to make a couple of 45* cuts and I'd suggest using deck screws to put the whole thing together (I never nail because I usually rip everything apart at some point). Get a sack of zip ties, some of those heavy duty fence staples, a helper, and you are in business.

If you're short like me the hoop houses are big and roomy enough to walk around in without bonking your head. And you can really fance them up with perches...

and nest boxes.

Five gallon buckets make great nest boxes.

You can use this method to make a hoop house of any size. These big ones can be pulled with a tractor as long as you go slow so you don't run over your birds.

A couple of things I learned about the construction are:

* Use zip ties to secure the hoop panels side by side for additional support.
* Using standard size lumber, the hoop roof will be slightly longer than the base...which is great - you have a slight overhang -- thats the end for your door.
* To make the hoop, secure one end of the panel loosely on the top of one of the rails with those big fence staples, then gently walk toward the base with the other end of the panel (the panel will arch up to make the hoop roof), and have someone hold it in place on that second side rail while you whack in the staples.  Then go back and secure the staples on the first side.

Closed end. Turkeys happily popping all around.

Door end, see the over hang?

For smaller birds you probably want to run chicken wire on the inside of the hoop to keep them in... or to keep predators out. We are pretty cautious so we'd probably lock our birds inside a permanent structure (coop in a house) at night. But I know folks who don't. If you are concerned you could run hot wires/electric mesh around the yard as extra protection.


Instead of perches and nest boxes for the green house I'll set up some easy to move tables for my seed starting materials. Also if you check out that guy's video you can see that he built some really great work surfaces with more cattle panels.

Hopefully I'll be able to get this project underway - as soon as the snow clears out. Even if I can't get some seeds going I'll just be glad to have somewhere to go outside. Maybe I'll just sit out there with the barn cat and a couple of chickens and soak up the sun.

Happy Monday everyone! Anyone else looking to build a green house this year?


Weekend Cowgirl said...

No greenhouse here, but cannot wait to see yours!!!!

Ohiofarmgirl said...

THANKS! WCG! and thanks everyone who left suggestions and comments over on the facebook!

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