Well, it has been awhile since I’ve graced the Blog World with my presence! And for that, I apologize! Life simply got away from all of us here at Red Barn Acres when it was harvest season, then it was the Holiday Season rush for our other company, Red Barn Botanicals LLC.
Alas, we are back. And we are prepared (more than) for SPRING to get here!
Our two hoop houses are put together and are about 98% finished. I say 98% because we still need to add some steel siding to the end wall kick boards (my idea, to protect the structure from tractor implements and even hand tools) and to attach the roll up side piping and handles.
Here we are framing in for the end walls.
Most of the framing is done. Now, time for doors.
Each end of each hoop house has a set of doors that are large enough to allow our small tractor and tiller inside. The large doors will also allow ample air flow through the structure.
My husband designed these cool rotating windows. This will allow me to keep the doors closed and open the windows if I need just a little air flow. I am still working on figuring out how to screen it in to keep out unwanted pests and animals.
The next step was to install the channeling for the wiggle wire.
We decided on having roll up side walls that would roll up 4 feet on both sides of each hoop house. Here you can see the entire length of our southern most hoop house and the channel that runs along it. The covering will be held in place inside the channel using wiggle wire.
Since I ordered the covering in one long roll instead of 2 separate rolls, we needed to roll it out the length of the structure.
Then, very carefully, after we waited for the wind to die down, we went from one side of the hoop house to the other, to cover the structure. It is easier with the more hands you have to help you. Thankfully, our neighbors are pretty nice and came to lend a hand.
We then worked the wiggle wire in (wearing gloves is a MUST, wiggle wire is tough even on the roughest of hands).
The bare OSB board will eventually have steel siding added to it for protection. We never got around to it due to winter hitting so hard so quickly. It is the first thing to do this spring.
It didn’t take long for our first snow to fly. And it also didn’t take long for it to melt….and then more snow came!
The photo above is on Christmas Day 2017. We ventured outside (we had gotten a few inches of snow over night on Christmas Eve). The temperature inside the hoop house was above freezing, probably around 40F, while the outside are was closer to 25F. We went inside to see how the hoop houses were fairing in the weather. We sweep any accumulating snow off as soon as it flies. The covering can only take so much weight of snow fall, so it is important to remove any that accumulates on the covering. In states or regions that receive snow fall, hoop houses, greenhouses, and other growing structures usually have their hoops spaced 4 feet apart or even closer. This helps with the weight of snow. In warmer climates where not much snow falls, the hoops may be seen spaced further apart.
I invested in a TempStick, which is a wireless Thermometer that uses WiFi to record the temperature. I can view it on my phone at any time using their free App. The temp stick is about $160 and totally worth the investment. This allows me to have a very accurate reading, and I can check it from anywhere. It also stores the information so I can use it to get an average reading for whatever length of time I need. The photo above is a reading from inside a hoop house when it was about 5F outside. This just shows how warm it can actually get in a hoop house with just sun as a heat source.
An average temperature reading is important when scheduling your planting or transplanting times.
We have already begun sowing our seeds indoors. Above are New York Early onions from High Mowing Seeds. These will be transplanted out as soon as they can be, and harvested sometime in fall. We also started some Long Season Pepper plants (Ghost Peppers, Carolina Reapers, and the like) and some tomatoes that are strictly bred for hoop house or green house growing (disease resistant hybrid strands).
So Now….Onto our UPDATE!
We will be attending the Durand Farmer’s Market this season and we are excited! We hope to have fresh produce, plants, and eggs (from our ducks, turkeys, and chickens). We have completely switched all of our poultry over to a Non GMO Non Soy ration. Our feed is not certified organic, but it is grown and harvested using organic practices. It is grown and produced by the Amish in Clare, Michigan.
Soon, we will be incubating chicken eggs, turkey eggs and duck eggs to hatch young to be added to our flocks as well as for meat production. We are excited to offer whole dressed birds for purchased this season. We purchased a very nice used mechanical poultry plucker so we don’t have to manually pluck our birds!
That’s all for now! See you soon!