Posted by: hightides | December 31, 2008

About Hoophouses

The cattle panel hoophouse shown is the first design we tried and has now been in use for two winters. Cattle panels — also known as stock panels — are 16′ long X 52″ high. The price was about $15 each when we erected “Lettuce One” and they are now about $20 each. Lettuce One is 48′ long X 8′ wide and is about 6’2″ at the peak. There are two 3′ wide beds along each side and a 2′ walkway in the middle. When we put this up in the fall of ’07, the total cost was $310. We estimate that the same one put up today would be about $400.

The end wall construction can be seen thru the plastic. There is a single eight foot 2X4 on the ground under the door that is “nailed” to the ground with two pieces of 3/8″ rebar. The door and that 2X4 and the angled braces were built flat and tipped into place. The rebar was hammered into the ground and the top of the door frame is strapped to the cattle panel.

Each panel is wired to the next one in 5 to 7 places. Wire is the green, plastic-coated clothes line available at Lowe’s — 50′ coils for about $9. Each panel is pinned to the ground with long hooks made from 4′ rebar bent into a “J”. Pound these in on a slight angle toward the center of the hoophouse so they can’t be pulled straight up.

This is enough to get you started. There are purlins running the length of the house to attach the plastic. The ’08 improvement to this house was to attach wigglewire channel to the purlins to make the plastic attachment easier. We also moved the purlin closer to the ground so the interior drip is next to the wall and not on the plants.  Buy 12′ wide poly for the cover. The “skirts” take an additional 3′ wide piece on each side. If you buy a 100′ roll of 12′ wide (at about $130) you’ll have enough to cover the entire house and enough to cover two raised beds besides.

More tomorrow on this one and photos of the next generation– Lettuce Two.

Dev in OK
zone 7a

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