Blog forum: My hoophouse project

 
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Weedwhacker
May 13, 2010 6:21 AM CST
Name: Sandy B.
Michigan UP (Zone 4b or 5a)
Finally got both the hoophouses set up, finished the last one last night. They went together very easily, all the parts were there, and even the covers went on surprisingly easily. The only "defect" that I've come across has been that one of the window vents is missing one of the fasteners for holding the open rolled up panel; but it turns out to be a non-issue because it stays up fine with just the one fastener. All of the stitching and so on appears to be very sturdy, and the covers have a mesh embedded in the plastic so should hold up quite well. All in all, at a little under $130 each, with free shipping, I think these were quite a bargain.

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"I am still learning"~~ Michelangelo
National Gardening Association
Weedwhacker
May 13, 2010 6:24 AM CST
Name: Sandy B.
Michigan UP (Zone 4b or 5a)
This shows the frame after we got it into the garden (after setting it up in the garage)

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"I am still learning"~~ Michelangelo
National Gardening Association
Weedwhacker
May 13, 2010 6:27 AM CST
Name: Sandy B.
Michigan UP (Zone 4b or 5a)
We added 1x4 boards underneath the long sides for a little more stability and to help keep it from digging down into the ground, and used screw-in ground anchors at each corner to tie it down.

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"I am still learning"~~ Michelangelo
National Gardening Association
Weedwhacker
May 13, 2010 6:29 AM CST
Name: Sandy B.
Michigan UP (Zone 4b or 5a)
The heads of the bolts that hold the frame together seemed rather rough, so I covered each one with a piece of green electrical tape to help keep them from abrading the cover.

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"I am still learning"~~ Michelangelo
National Gardening Association
Weedwhacker
May 13, 2010 6:31 AM CST
Name: Sandy B.
Michigan UP (Zone 4b or 5a)
Although there is plenty of headroom for me (and for John, who is 6' tall), I was a little worried about someone hitting their head on the bolt ends that come down from the top...

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"I am still learning"~~ Michelangelo
National Gardening Association
Weedwhacker
May 13, 2010 6:35 AM CST
Name: Sandy B.
Michigan UP (Zone 4b or 5a)
... I found some wire nuts that fit perfectly and actually screwed right onto the end of the bolts. It would still hurt, but at least no one should end up with a gash in their scalp!

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"I am still learning"~~ Michelangelo
National Gardening Association
Weedwhacker
May 13, 2010 6:37 AM CST
Name: Sandy B.
Michigan UP (Zone 4b or 5a)
Velcro straps hold the cover down to the bottom of the frame.

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"I am still learning"~~ Michelangelo
National Gardening Association
Weedwhacker
May 13, 2010 6:43 AM CST
Name: Sandy B.
Michigan UP (Zone 4b or 5a)
What will be growing in the hoophouses? For my early planting (now) I'll be putting in bush beans, hot and bell peppers, 3 tomato plants (Bush Early Girl and Manitoba), lettuce, basil, rosemary and savory in one of them, and Honey Rock muskmelons, sweet potatoes and bush cucumbers in the other. Later on I'll be planting things that will hopefully last well into the winter, lettuce, chard, carrots, cabbage, brussels sprouts, endive, and ?? I'll be adding more pictures as the season progresses!
"I am still learning"~~ Michelangelo
National Gardening Association
Weedwhacker
May 19, 2010 5:57 AM CST
Name: Sandy B.
Michigan UP (Zone 4b or 5a)
On Sunday (5/17) I planted Tendergreen bush beans, Midnight Ruffles lettuce, Green Ice lettuce and a Mesclun salad mixture in one of the houses, and Salad Bush and Homemade Pickles cukes plus Honey Rock muskmelons in the other (all from seed). At this point I'm starting to think the muskmelon might be a little too large of vine for the space that it will have, so I may have to do some trellising, pruning or both. Also have been reading about sweet potatoes and they make more of a rampant vine than I realized, so may have to try to grow them vertically as well.

"I am still learning"~~ Michelangelo
National Gardening Association
Weedwhacker
Jun 5, 2010 5:00 PM CST
Name: Sandy B.
Michigan UP (Zone 4b or 5a)
Off to somewhat of a slow start -- only 1 of the melons ever sprouted, so I'm going to start a few inside and transplant out. Something is eating the beans, so I need to replant. And I'm contending with a lot more grass and weeds than I anticipated, but I should have known better; this is the end of the garden that we expanded into what was previously lawn. It probably would have been better from that respect to set the hoop houses up in a more established part of the garden, but space logistics didn't seem to work for that. This year is definitely an experimental phase!
"I am still learning"~~ Michelangelo
National Gardening Association
Weedwhacker
Jun 13, 2010 6:19 AM CST
Name: Sandy B.
Michigan UP (Zone 4b or 5a)
The bush beans have not come up well at all, something has been chewing them off -- although some have recovered, most did not. I have more started in the greenhouse and will put them in the ground once they can better fend for themselves!

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"I am still learning"~~ Michelangelo
National Gardening Association
Weedwhacker
Jun 13, 2010 6:21 AM CST
Name: Sandy B.
Michigan UP (Zone 4b or 5a)
The lettuce is ready to start harvesting/thinning -- this is "Green Ice" and "Midnight Ruffles"

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"I am still learning"~~ Michelangelo
National Gardening Association
Weedwhacker
Jun 13, 2010 6:23 AM CST
Name: Sandy B.
Michigan UP (Zone 4b or 5a)
The tomatoes and peppers are doing well, the 4th of July tomato is beginning to flower. They will likely soon outgrow these cages, will have to add stakes for support.

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"I am still learning"~~ Michelangelo
National Gardening Association
Weedwhacker
Jun 15, 2010 8:21 AM CST
Name: Sandy B.
Michigan UP (Zone 4b or 5a)
Yesterday I planted 2 more tomatoes (Delicious and Pruden's Purple) and 3 pepper plants (2 jalapeno and 1 Numex Sunrise) in the hoophouse where the muskmelon never got going. After further consideration, if I want to do a muskmelon in one of these HH, I either need to dedicate one just to that, or else grow a small, maybe bush-type, melon. At any rate, have more tomotoes longer into the fall would be great thing -- every year we try to devise something to carry them past the first few frosts but never seem to be very successful. With the plants in the garden I now have 16 tomatoes planted -- about 4 more than I usually plant. I'm hoping the indoor ones won't suffer the effects of blight that always eventually wrecks the outdoor plants. If this works out really well I may in the future be growing all of the tomatoes and peppers inside a hoophouse.
"I am still learning"~~ Michelangelo
National Gardening Association
Weedwhacker
Jun 20, 2010 8:31 PM CST
Name: Sandy B.
Michigan UP (Zone 4b or 5a)
Swapped out the tomato cages for these garden-fence cages; we used these for years in the main garden and I hated them, there are sharp edges that tend to gash your arms when you pick, but definitely more support than the ring-type cages.

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"I am still learning"~~ Michelangelo
National Gardening Association
Weedwhacker
Jun 22, 2010 2:05 PM CST
Name: Sandy B.
Michigan UP (Zone 4b or 5a)
Green Ice and Midnight Ruffles lettuce, 31 days after planting from seed.

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"I am still learning"~~ Michelangelo
National Gardening Association
Weedwhacker
Jun 22, 2010 2:08 PM CST
Name: Sandy B.
Michigan UP (Zone 4b or 5a)
These cukes are coming along, 31 days after planting from transplants; supposedly about 55 days to maturity, so we'll see!

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"I am still learning"~~ Michelangelo
National Gardening Association
Weedwhacker
Jun 22, 2010 2:09 PM CST
Name: Sandy B.
Michigan UP (Zone 4b or 5a)
The sweet potatoes aren't taking off as fast as I would have expected -- I hope they're growing lots of roots underground.

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"I am still learning"~~ Michelangelo
National Gardening Association
Weedwhacker
Jun 22, 2010 2:12 PM CST
Name: Sandy B.
Michigan UP (Zone 4b or 5a)
Started more of the Tendergreen beans in packs and transplanted them to replace the ones that didn't come up or were eaten off -- looking a lot better now!

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"I am still learning"~~ Michelangelo
National Gardening Association
Weedwhacker
Jun 25, 2010 7:40 AM CST
Name: Sandy B.
Michigan UP (Zone 4b or 5a)
The beans are just starting to flower -- they're looking pretty "viney" for a bush bean, I may need to give them some kind of support. Found a small-marble-size tomato on the 4th of July plant -- yippee!
"I am still learning"~~ Michelangelo
National Gardening Association

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