Monday, August 22, 2016

Hoop House

Our new hoop house.  Or unheated green house.  Or high tunnel.

NRCS has a grant program for these puppies.  In some sense it's a little odd to have federal dollars spent on these types of farm infrastructure programs, but from the national interest/social stability/education/food independence position, it makes a lot of sense.

Putting aside our feelings about the farm bill, we threw our name in the hat and were selected this year to receive a grant for one 30x72 hoop house.

Step 1, level a spot in the back field. 

Step 2, square the building and set the corner posts.

The grant includes enough funds to help pay to have these structures assembled.  With the exception of the ponds and leveling this spot, I have done every single thing on our house and property, and I like it that way.  Makes it feel more like our playground and less like something we pay to play on.

Step 2, which was my first sign that this might not be the best project for one person, was pounding in the 32 metal posts that the hoops attach to.  Each pounded 2 ft into rock hard ground, with a sledge hammer.  Also, the kit arrived in July, during a drought, with record heat.  Possibly I could have waited to assembled it.

Assembling hoops on the ground.  Alexe contributed an hour of her time to help me hoist the hops into position.

Followed by interminable steps of running 5 lengths of pipe down the sides and top and clamping them all together, installing the end supports and door header, (which had to be ordered: no-one stocks pressure treated 20 ft long 4x6s.) 

End wall plastic, end doors, aluminum clip covers, roll-up side pieces, etc.

But now Alexe has a giant micro-climate to extend her growing season straight through the winter.  

Add a water line from the irrigation pond...

As soon as we get some rain, this place will have a decent supply of chlorine free rain water, with a 15 ft head and a pipe starting at 4" and dropping to 2" in 150 ft.  Some of that water will run through the barn yard before it hits the irrigation pond.  Alexe's spinach should do alright.

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