DIY hoophouse renovations

upright

We built the hoophouse in 2008, and finally this year have gotten to making roll-up sides.  Between the shade cloth and the roll up side, I hope it will be a great climate in there for growing hot peppers, tomatoes, melons and cukes — nice and hot, but not so hot they cannot set fruit!

lathe fastens the plastic to the upright

Here’s what we did.

1) In the corner, on the inside of the hoophouse, we added an upright between the side purlin and the wooden base frame.  We use metal L brackets on the side purlins because we had some in inventory, and screwed the upright directly to the base frame on the bottom.

2) Using some lathe (from inventory) on the outside of the hoophouse we screwed the plastic to the upright as we did on the end walls.  We left a wide space for adding wiggle wire to hold the side in place when we close the hoophouse up in the fall when the weather cools.

cutting the greenhouse film

3) We cut the plastic next to the lathe.  It is now free to roll up or down.  I need to order some wiggle wire before the cooler weather arrives.

4) We used fencing staple pounded into the purlins to tip the cut sides up and keep them tidy and out of the way.  We will also us fencing staples to tie down the shade cloth and prevent it from blowing away in the wind.

done!

Hoop house wearing shade cloth

note the repaired cracks above the hole

We only opened one side for now.  If it still gets too hot in the hoophouse for plants to set fruit, we will open the other side and/or add a larger shade cloth.  This cloth is a small one I had on hand from using with my mini hoops in past years.  You can see a photo of the shade cloth on the mini hoop here.  It also helped reduce the rodent predation before we had a fence.

We still have one more project to tackle on the hoophouse before fall.  On the front end wall, when we constructed the hoophouse, I used a piece of ordinary 4 mil plastic sheeting for a small section next to the door.  Over the years the plastic became more and more opaque, and more and more brittle, until this spring, it began to fall apart.  I’ve taped it together in a few spots, but it has become so brittle it cannot be repaired any more so I need to replace that with some real greenhouse plastic before the fall weather.

I am still extraordinarily happy with the hoophouse, and will build another without thinking twice when this one reaches the end of its life.  We talk often about constructing an even larger hoophouse, with space enough for a table and 2 chairs for some winter sun therapy.  Ahhhh.

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7 Responses to “DIY hoophouse renovations”

  1. Jennifer Fisk Says:

    Along with emerging fresh veggies, I would agree a really good use for the hoop house would be late winter therapy. The warm sun and smell of earth would be so uplifting in March when we can’t get winter to go away.

    • Ali Says:

      You’ve totally got it there, Jennifer. It is better than therapy — you get veggies, too!

  2. Sara Says:

    Definitely sun therapy is part of the plan with mine! The roll-up sides look great, we will be doing something similar and its great to have good pictures to look at when we do. I’ve done so much research on fall/winter growing, now I’m reading about summertime uses as that is something I’ll need to know for next year :)

  3. Robin Says:

    Great job on the roll up sides! I think it would be wonderful to have enough room in the hoop house for a table and chairs to sit during the winter!

  4. meemsnyc Says:

    What an awesome idea. I’m sure your plants will thrive in there!!

  5. kitsapFG Says:

    Excellent work doing the retro fit of the roll up sides. I was just talking with a few other local gardeners about a hoop house for our local “giving garden” project and part of the conversation was the need for roll up sides. I think it makes the hoop house so much more useful in the long term.

  6. El Says:

    The roll-up sides are fairly key if you ask me. There’s still a period of crazy hot weather here (about a week long) wherein the tomatoes, peppers et.al. don’t set fruit but goodness that barely makes a dent in production.

    I recommend, though, Ali, tacking up some chicken wire between the hoops and the roll-up though in case a bird does get loose. It’s my experience that they’ve got a cattle call to tell their girlfriends “all’s great in here, come on in!” and then crap, all your stuff gets eaten and/or dug up. They LOVE the loose dirt in a greenhouse. And they have long memories.

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