Hoop House update

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Today, we closed in the open north end of the hoophouse with some aluminum-frame storm windows which became available when we replaced some of the aging windows in our house.  IMG_4830

Wow, I LOVE the visibility we have with the glass, and the frames added some rigidity to the structure as well.  Where the windows didn’t cover, we recovered with inexpensive plastic sheeting from the hardware store which we also use with good results for small  raised bed hoophouses in the garden.

IMG_4836To install, we simply added framing made from a 2’x4′ ripped in half to make a 1’x3′.  We then used galvanized self-tapping screws to attach the window frames to the hoophouse framing.  The final step was adding the plastic to the uncovered area, and tacking down the plastic with lathe salvaged from a house project. This makes me wish I had a few more windows to replace!  I may have to start perusing Uncle Henry’s for some used aluminum windows.  It makes the hoophouse a lot brighter, I hope the plants like it as much as I do.IMG_4838We still have not buried the plastic on the sides of the hoophouse.  We left it unburied thinking we might want to roll up the sides for venting this summer, but it never really got hot enough to need it.  For now, we have covered the plastic with scraps of plywood scrounged from the town’s waster transfer station, where it was destined to be ground up into incinerator chow.  I think this is a much better use.

What’s growing?

Things are still growing great in the hoophouse — we’ve got lovely lettuce, Swiss Chard, kale, parsley, and leeks, and yes, tiny little green spinach sprouts from the spinach seeds I planted a couple of weeks ago.  I really hope this overwinters and comes back to early life next spring.  I’d like to try sprouting broccoli again, too.  Has anyone ever had success with that?  I tried it last year but the plants did not survive.IMG_4826

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8 Responses to “Hoop House update”

  1. Mangochild Says:

    Your hoophouse looks really good, looking forward to seeing what comes out of it this winter :-) My spinach seeds (planted a month ago) seem “stuck” – they are about 2″ tall and holding. Nice and wide, but – stuck. Thoughts?

    • Ali Says:

      The spinach grows very slowly due to lack of light. I don’t anticipate that I will get to eat much if any this fall; I’m hoping that it will over winter and be edible very early in the spring. Yours might overwinter, keep your fingers crossed!

  2. Kate@LivingTheFrugalLife Says:

    Questions, Ali! I have questions! You say you put these on the north side of the hoop house. Does that mean it’s oriented north to south? I was thinking of building one with an east-west orientation next year, such that a long side would face south. Is there a reason you placed yours differently? Or just how it would fit on your property? And did you want the windows on the north side because it would have overheated the hoophouse if they were on the south side? Or just aesthetic considerations?

    Finally, did you mean self-tapping screws? I showed this post to my husband and he’s never heard of self-rapping screws. We have several old storm windows and have wondered how to attach them to wooden structures.

    I know: lots of questions. Sorry. But your plants look great. Color me jealous!

    • Ali Says:

      Hi Kate,

      Our hoophouse is oriented roughly NE/SE. Ideally, we would have it oriented so the long walls were facing south, but due to space considerations, it is placed as it is, wedged in beside some pre-existing raised beds which came with the house. As this was an experiment, we decided to try it where it fit the best given the confines of the existing garden. If/when we build another or replace this one, we will probably locate it slightly differently, but by that time, the raised beds will have rotted away, and the fence posts be in need or replacing, so it would be easier to use a different orientation.

      And yes, self-rapping was a typo :-( These aluminum window frames had pre-drilled holes, so we just used those to attach the frames to the 1’x3’s. If there were wooden frames, well, that would be different….

  3. Daphne Gould Says:

    The hoop house looks really nice like that. I can imagine it lets a lot more light in than the plastic. Now if only you can patch the whole house up with storm windows :>

    • Ali Says:

      Daphne, believe me, I would LOVE to build an entire hoophouse from these windows….. someday, maybe. We do have a few more windows to replace in a few years.

  4. wf Says:

    I want a hoop house : ) !!! Looks lovely. Whats the ave temp there by you now?

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