Hey all! I hope your October is going well! I thought I would post about our Hoop House Project that we have been working on for a few months (or eternity as it seems!)
I say Hoop House because greenhouses are heated and hoop houses, generally, are not. I have plans of one day heating one or both of them, most likely with a wood burner, but for now, I am happy with just getting them finished before the snow flies.
According to Maximum Yield, a hoop house can be as big or small as one would want and can be permanent or mobile. Gardeners and growers can build or place them over crop rows or garden beds and either leave them in place for the season, or relocated them. They are also wonderful for extending the season, whether you want to get crops in the ground early or keep them in late into the season.
Some gardeners use cattle panels and bend them into hoop shapes and then cover them with clear plastic. Some are even made by bending PVC piping into a half circle shape and then covering it as well. Some are even commercially built, for the home gardener or the commercial grower. Either way, they are quite handy, affordable, durable, easy to assemble, and can be any size you’d like.
I had been doing my research and comparing prices on hoophouse kits from numerous companies. All inclusive kits were going to set me back about $2,000 for an 8 ft x 20 ft hoop house. I was also searching local sale sites and ads for used hoop houses. Finally, one night around midnight while my husband snored next to me, I found a local (ok…an hour away is still local!) tree & shrub nursery that had four 16×96 ft hoop houses for sale, each one priced for $600. I woke my husband up and told him what I had found…and of course, in his stupor he agreed to purchasing one with some money I had saved for the more expensive kit that I would have to order (and pay freight shipping for!).
So, along with a very kind neighbor, we went and tore one down at the nursery. I had a hard time containing my excitement. Then, on the way home, with a trailer loaded with hoops and parts, we began to wonder… “Where exactly are we going to fit something 96 feet long on our property?” It wasn’t that we don’t have the room… there was just no place to put something that long or big in a place that didn’t flood when we got heavy rains or a spot that wasn’t filled with tree roots, or a spot that was close to water and power.
We opted to use the east side of our house, in a spot of our yard that we hardly used because it was so awkward. It had 5 tiny maple trees that were dying off from constantly fighting with each other for space. However, the spot was NOT 96 feet long. So we decided to split the hoop house in half. That is what makes hoop houses great, you can make them any size you want! There is something great about having one hoophouse, but there is something awesome about having 2! That means I can do two projects at once if I choose. Each half measures 44 feet long. I did lose some space, but we would have had one longer than the other, and with my OCD tendencies, I wasn’t up for the constant bother.
I will admit that anything greenhouse related is expensive. I bought the clear covering while it was on sale, but instead of ordering it in the 2 lengths I needed, the sale required me to purchase it in one big length. I ordered a sheet of covering (we will be using 6 mil) 28 feet by 125 feet. I then had to order all the channel and “wiggle wire” for attaching the covering. I also placed an order with a local metals company for 200 feet of 1 3/8″ piping for making the roll up sides. All in all, including all the treated lumber and lumber for the end walls and other hardware, we have about $2300 into them together…which is a savings, if you ask me. It was almost like buying the all inclusive kit and getting one free…maybe even 2 free if you count the extra space, since these ones are much bigger than the kit I was looking at purchasing.
Below are some photos of the process:
This is the spot in our yard that we chose. We had already cut two trees down the year before, because they were dead.
Trees are cut down. I finally began to envision the spot.
We used a backhoe to remove the tree stumps and large root pieces. We also worked on leveling out the spot
We put in all the base boards, after pounding all the anchoring pipes into the ground. We spaced those pipes 4 feet from each other. It took about 2 days of putting them all in, as we only worked on this after my husband got home from work. We also had some help from our kiddo.
I wish I would have gotten more photos of putting up the hoops, but it was kind of quick, actually!
We placed the hoophouses so they would run east to west, and get as much as the south sun as possible. We began working on the end walls a few weeks ago, and hopefully soon, those will be done too. You will have to stay tuned for Part II!
Here we are! The first official post of our blog!
I suppose we should get the formalities out of the way and tell you more about us than what our About section holds.
(that’s me!) I grew up in a tiny town south of where we live now. Our whole area (several counties) is pretty agricultural. You can’t drive more than a half mile or so without seeing crop fields or animals out to pasture. And honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am 30 years old (might as well get used to saying that since in a few short weeks, I will be!). I love to read and write, be outside, garden, cook for my family and others, I love coffee and tea (herbal, mostly), unicorns, chickens, horses, photography, chocolate, and much more! I also own my own business, which I may talk about on the blog…I may even do a few tutorials here and there. I am a stay at home mom, working from home.
I grew up just a few miles from where we live now, on a large farm. My mother and father raise dairy goats and organic crops. I have been around farming my entire life, I learned to drive a tractor before I learned how to read. I work for my family’s local cable/phone/internet company as the Construction Supervisor. I operate bore machines, trenchers, and other heavy machinery. I also do the small things like splice fiber, fix the cable, and run new installs. I am also the company’s mechanic when it comes to maintaining the fleet vehicles. I suppose you could say I am a “Jack of all Trades”. I love diesel engines, particularly Detroit Diesels. I also love firearms and love to target shoot for fun.
Is named Red Barn Acres to match my LLC that I make my own income from to supplement my husbands. Red Barn Botanicals is my handmade body care store that I started in 2015. We have a red barn, however, it is not one of those awesome wooden red barns that you see dotting the horizon in the country. It is a modern red pole barn. BUT! It is our Red Barn…it symbolizes (to us, anyway) that we CAN raise our own meat, provide for our family, and give shelter to our animals. Essentially to me, it means strength and empowerment! A little red barn that has always shown me that I can and will succeed! We are located half way between Flint and Lansing in Michigan and own about 3 acres. So we are a pretty small operation compared to others…even though we might dwarf those who own less land and do much more with it than we do with ours. We one day hope to relocate to a larger plot of land so we can do more of what we love.
For now, we raise chickens for meat and eggs, ducks for eggs and meat (although we haven’t harvested any of our ducks yet), our turkeys we will hatch their eggs for growing out turkeys for harvest. We also have 6 goats. Four of them I plan on using for milk, as the other 2 are wethers.
We also have extensive gardens which provide us with fresh produce throughout the growing season. I love to preserve food by canning it. We always have enough tomato sauce and salsa to last us the winter. There is nothing like opening a fresh jar of salsa in the middle of winter made with tomatoes and peppers grown in the heat of summer. This next year will be a major turning point in our endeavors as we have 2 large hoop houses to work with! Our growing season will be extended quite a bit and may even provide through the winter. We hope to have CSA Shares available in 2019.
As for the content of this blog… you may see and read many different things. We always seem to have some kind of project going on that I think you will enjoy reading about, and perhaps you’ll even learn something. Keep in mind, this is a homestead/farm. That means from time to time we harvest our own meat and that process may be documented here.
I also welcome comments and suggestions on topics to blog about. Keep in mind that our way or opinion may be different than yours or someone elses, and we will not suggest that our way is the only way to do something. The glorious thing about homesteading and farming is that you learn something new every day, sometimes they are good lessons and sometimes not so much.
So follow along with us. Maybe you will learn something too.