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Tiny farm moving – Part 3

Hoophouse erect

Headed to the old farm to pick up the greenhouse. It’s only been a month since the main move, but the return to a place where I spent practically every day of the last six years felt strange. Inside the farmhouse, it was just a familiar space, but rounding the corner into the  barnyard, surrounded by all the old red buildings—barn, goat barn, drive shed—and then, walking into the field, that was different.

I guess this is the first real attachment to LAND that I’ve experienced. It was definitely unusual, not at all emotional, just a really strong, quiet sensation, a deep familiarity maybe describes it. I suppose the memories of all that thinking, observing, and working, tying together place and weather and ground conditions and seasons coming and going in one long, continuous arc, couldn’t help but leave their own type of mark. So that was interesting! :)

Bob had already started dismantling the farm stand, but that was so solidly put together, with thick, rough-cut cedar, heavy old fence boards, and 3″ nails (if you ever expect to move the things you build, for a few dollars more, consider screws!), that’s gonna be for another day. On to the hoophouse teardown…

Dismantling the hoophouse: removing ribs

The hoophouse is all screwed together, so taking it apart was easy. I’d considered lining up some extra hands for removing the plastic—there was a breeze, gusting to 4-5 mph (6-8kmph)—but Bob thought we’d be fine. And we were: the plastic skinned off amazingly easily, without catching the wind at all, and it didn’t disintegrate or tear…it will live again.

Hoophouse in pieces

Around five hours later, and it’s all in pieces, ready to load up and take down the road. Going up and coming down are exactly the same, so I decided to take step-by-step pictures when we put it up again at the new farm…



  1. EtienneG

    Attachment to the land is the reason why I am really looking into *buying* the piece of land I will start my commercial garden on.  I really feel for you, having to leave the land you have nourished for six years.  Farming is all about long-term investment, having to start anew somewhere else and losing all the investment you made at the old location is probably no fun.  Although it is also a good opportunity to correct some early mistake, using hindsight and experience.

    That being, said, I am curious to know where you bought your hoophouse.  We have a few very good suppliers in Québec (Harnois, Hol-Ser, etc), but the one whose web site have been the most useful to me is Multi-Shelter Solution in Ontario (  I really like that they have a pricing chart online, that is very useful when you are researching cost for a business plan.  Have you ever dealt with them?  If so, how was your experience?

  2. I am also looking for a small greenhouse and I live in Ontario.  I went to the website of sheltersolutions and also wonder if you have ever dealt with them.  Where did you get your greenhouse?  How long would the plastic sheeting last?  Do you use any temperature control?

  3. Yes, that’s where I got this! Actually, the company was called Trillium Greenhouse four years ago, and they were great, on-time delivery, useful instructions, clear, helpful answers on the phone. A year or so later, I thought they’d split into two companies, so I wasn’t sure which was the “better” one (can’t recall why I thought that). I spoke with Multi Shelter a couple of weeks ago, apparently it’s the same people, new company, no split. The old Trillium web site is still up if you wanna look. Anyhow, all that is a little odd, but I’d order from them again.

    Etienne: re land, I used to think owning was absolutely the only sane way to farm, but my outlook seems to be changing. If you already own land, or have enough money to purchase outright, that’s great. If you’re going to finance it, basically, if you can’t really afford it, that’s a whole other thing. There are so many trade-offs and considerations. Do you buy cheaper land in a more remote area, or really get into debt to be somewhere more populated? Can you feel really settled on land that you “own” when you’re $200-300-400K in debt? And so on… It’s an interesting subject! I like the idea of people working together…

  4. Hi Mike, you are doing a LOT of work getting everything taken down and set up again…..a question for you….your “old” place – will that remain a market farm?

    I would hate to leave all that wonderful built up soil! I have started probably 5 large gardens. As soon as they are all built up, we move! But I think we are staying where we are now – so I am putting lots of love and work (again) into the gardens.


  5. Renee

    We just put up our greenhouse this summer. I can’t imagine having to take it down  to move.

    I can’t wait to see it in it’s new home.


  6. Tarrah

    I have also recently taken down a couple of hoophouses but I am not feeling like I have the skills to put them back up!
    Do you or anyone reading have any recommendations of people with experience doing this who would come to Grey County Ontario to install one or twoo hoophouses?

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