December 2, 2008

Hoophouse on the cheap

It was a beautiful sunny day and I spent it outside. I moved the electric fence giving the cows a little green space, which happens to be right beside my garden (which is now in fall rye) and where I was working today on building a hoophouse. It is 12 by 40 and to get the corners square I used the handy Pythagorean Theorem.
A2 + B2 = C2
(Length of Building)2 + (Width of Building)2
= (Hypotenuse of Building)2
Example: A (12-ft.)2 + B (40-ft.)2 = C2
144-ft.2 + 1,600-ft.2 = 1,744-ft.2
√1,744 = 41.76-ft.
C = 41.76-ft.
I don't carry that kind of stuff in my head, I had to look that up. Once the corners were square, and this took far too long (the cows chewing their cuds looking at me like I was nuts) I put a string around the 4 corner posts. I pounded 5/8 rebar of 4' pieces every 4 feet along my string on either side - 3' would have been fine but I want to ground her in the earth so I'm going overboard here. The 1 inch PVC schedule 80 pipe will fit over these rebar. I'm using 20 foot lengths which the building supply had to order for me and they are yet to appear (how I plan to get them home will be the subject of a poem soon ...as will a tune about the flying farmers on the end of a plastic sheet I was singing to the cows today...
Ok, the foundation plate, 2 by 8, I rubbed with sunflower oil to keep it from rotting as fast. The cows chewed them cuds enviously watching this. I connected the sills with short pieces of more 2 by 8 on the inside plane of the sill and used ample screws. I'll wait to connect the foundation until after the hoops are slipped over the rebar - now it is in 4 pieces - ends and sides. It will fit flush up against the pipe bottoms and then I'll screw it all together. I'll use strapping on the inside to connect the pipes to the plate/sill, again not scrimping with screws. My wood stove takes 2 foot lengths so last night I heated up 4, took them out with salad tongs and whacked them on a hunk of railroad tie to a J shape. These I'll pound down to hold the sill in the corners.
I'll continue this saga later in this same post as I progress. My technique comes from past trials and tribulations and from a sample and synthesis of this and this and this.

2 comments:

Ottawa Gardener said...

Thanks. I look forward to seeing this in action.

anastatia FA said...

The building supply couldn't access 20' pipe, so I have to contend with 10' that will connect with cross pieces..a little fiddlier but a stronger hoophouse in the end. They should be here tomorrow. For now, I have leveled the baseboard with blocks and pounded the rebar down so I have 8" above top of bb. on each. I'll shovel soil back up the outside of the house to fill in any holes this leveling created. I'm going to Halifax soon and will pick up a cord for my video camera so I can show you whats up shaping with the greenhouse and the rest of the farm.
anne