People at work: hoophouse goes up!

Fastening hoops to the ridge

Another beautiful and busy day in the field, with Lynn, Mel, Jordan, Tara and, for her first full day, Andie, all variously raking, tilling and building. And eating lunch (can’t wait for proper farm food to kick in!). The most VISIBLE accomplishment today: we put up the frame of the hoophouse, which is the main part of the job. This was mostly done by Andrea and Jordan, first-time building for both of them, with me holding hoops, furnishing tools, and starting them out with some how-to advice. Working with light, pre-formed metal is particularly satisfying, things can go up fairly quickly, to produce dramatic results (or maybe it’s just me, waiting for that greenhouse!!!). It seemed like the satisfaction at the end was pretty deep! :)

Attaching more hoops

Screwing the hoops to the ridge is the main structural task. We used the bucket on the Kubota compact tractor as a raisable platform…

Pounding in T-bar anchors

Since this is a re-assembly job, all the parts and pieces were there to be…assembled. First, lay out the 4×4 base, and pound in eight 3′ (0.9m) iron T-bar stakes to anchor the hoophouse. The T-bar is attached to the wood with lag bolts. Pounding was relatively easy, the ground is still soft, but a little bit of a workout. And if you look closely, near Andie’s foot and Jordan’s knee, you can see the brackets that the hollow steel hoops fit over, at 4′ (1.2m) spacing…

Getting hoops started

Next up, starting the frame. Attaching the first two pairs of hoops to the ridge is the trickiest part. The hoops slip over stubs in the ridge, then they’re screwed in place. A cordless drill and a couple of wrenches were all the tools we used. It’s wobbly at first, the more hoops you add, more stable it gets!

Hoophouse framed!

And there we are! Andie tightens up nuts on the cross-braces (purlins). In front, the lumber for an end wall is layed out. Halfway there. All in a tiny farm day’s work…

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10 Responses to “People at work: hoophouse goes up!”

  1. Sarah says:

    Hello,
    Just found your blog and loving the posts and photos. Our site just launched an Environmental Page that shows a range of content, including articles on sustainable farming and organic foods that I thought you might enjoy. Hope you’ll have a look! http://www.findingdulcinea.com/info/the-environment.html
    Sarah

  2. mike says:

    looks like today was yellow shirt day,
    yesterday was red shirt day,
    and tomorrow is brought to you by the color….?

  3. Tim says:

    I love that tractor! That would be overkill on our little lot but I would still love it!

  4. Carrie says:

    How satisifying !- it looks great well done to Andrea and Jordan.

  5. Mangochild says:

    Well done to you and the team…. that project has such high returns, can’t wait to read about all the growing taking place in that hoophouse.

  6. Jen says:

    Hi there! I love your site. I just started a mini garden in FL and you are a true inspiration. I love that you’ve taught yourself everything. Keep posting! It’s a joy to read and I hope you have a great growing season.  

  7. Barb says:

    Wow!  I love it.  We are working on our high tunnel as well, but late spring storms have really delayed our plans….do you have your plastic up yet?  We are hoping to get that done this week.

  8. erin says:

    Hey Mike!
    Looks like good times!
    Can’t wait to see your new digs!
    hugs.

  9. Mike Snyder says:

    I recently built a hoop house out of 16′ cattle panels and shade cloth.  Check it out.  Hope this helps others trying to live off the land.
    http://modernsustainability.blogspot.com/2010/01/how-to-build-hoop-house.html

  10. Steve Rogers says:

    How do you attach the top of the end wall framing to the hoops? Nobody seems to mention that!

    • Mike (tfb) says:

      Steve: The wood studs are notched to fit around the steel ribs and bolted to them. If you look real close in the fourth pic, I think you can see one of the bolt holes in the steel, a foot down from Andrea’s hand.

  11. Julia says:

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