Friday, February 1, 2013

::hoop house holla::

This year was a very temperate winter here in central Indiana.
Mother Earth News

Which means that I could have had fresh tomatoes in December if only I had one of these bad boys.

That's all the argument it took to get Josh on board.  The man would sell at least one of the kids for a constant supply of fresh tomatoes.  

Really - I have had my eye on hoop houses for awhile.  They are an unheated plastic covered green house.  Some have raised beds and some do not.  Sizes are dictated by the craziness of the builder.  They start the growing season earlier and they extend the season longer.  I hear that you can grow cold hardy veggies like spinach year round in them.  This will be a learning experience, but I am excited to master it.    

Link here
Now we have to figure out where to put it.  We may have 16 acres but it is still hard for us to pick a good location for things.  Our front area has lots of shade.  We have a lovely spot near the road, but it does flood periodically.  Ten acres is in hay.  The horse pasture/shooting range is no place for anything you don't want the horses to destroy.  The goats are getting a new pasture around the pond (really a wet land).  So - where to put the hoop house?  

Answer is - the orchard garden, but that has negatives too. 

Such as -
No easy access to water.  Something Josh says we can fix. 
Partial shade at certain times of the day.
Not as close to the house as I would ideally like.

But if you turn those around - we can fix the water access, its mostly sunny, and is pretty close to the house. 

The ground frame will be made from pressure treated lumber in a rectangle 14ft by 25ft.  Inside will be three raised beds.  A central one and one on each side.  PVC pipes will span from one side to another.  The ribs have to be wrapped in tape because they can have a chemical reaction with the plastic that will cause the plastic to erode.  The gardening sites recommend wrapping the PVC in tape or painting it with latex paint.    

That will need some fine tuning, but its a start.  

Here are my anticipated costs:
Lumber $140
Weed mat $20
Plastic cover )100
PVC $45
Attachment and misc hardware $20
Straw $20
Compost - free for the taking 

Total estimate is $350

I predict it will take one full day of kid free working to get it done.  

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