Saturday, October 25, 2008

Hoophouse Updates

We've learned a few fascinating things about hoophouses since we've constructed ours.

1. It's easier the second time around. We helped our friends Bryan and Aimee at Ambry Farms construct a hoophouse the next day, and the four of us finished up in just over an hour.

2. It works! We checked the temperature the next day in ours, and by noon it was at 106 degrees. The praying mantis and cabbage worms seemed very much at ease. Yikes!

3. Keep an eye on the structure. We found about a day or so later that one of the ribs disconnected from the ridge pole. Bryan and Aimee had the same issue, but came up with a good repair. (It happens to be the same one that the original designer came up with when he encountered the same problem.)

4. Less light gets through. I felt like a real rocket scientist when I realized that (duh!) less light was getting through to my plants. Things seemed a little wilted and not so colorful. Since the sunlight comes through the plastic now there is a fraction less of already short daylight coming to the plants. I'm still pondering this one.

5. Be careful how you seal it. Our sides are not as well sealed perhaps as they should be. We haven't lost anything to frost, but I think it might be a bit chillier than is ideal. We'll be addressing that today when we work on reinforcing the overall structure.

6. Be careful with the clamps. While making our adjustments to the hoophouse this afternoon, we (ok, it was actually me) moved one of the clamps by sliding it down. It sliced the plastic open resulting in an unwanted vent. We fixed it with tape, but we'll have to keep an eye on it the rest of the season. (And I'm not allowed to touch the clamps any longer.)

7. Plan a party! We're having a Hoophouse Hoopla this Friday. We can't really let folks in after a certain period as we'll have to close the doors for the night, but we are so excited we thought it would be a good thing to share. Any excuse for a potluck and bonfire...

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