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Hoop House

 
Posts: 25
Location: Deering, NH
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This is the John Suscovich model. Farm Marketing Solutions is the name of his site that has plans. It's small though, suitable for knocking your head a lot. Would be good for a tractor for a few chickens raised for meat. I use it for growing out cockerels for my breeding program.
I think it's around 6 x 9
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pollinator
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Leela Olson wrote:

Scott Foster wrote:Does anyone know of a good hoop house plan or an alternative.?   I'd like to do something a little more permanent than PVC but at the moment that's the way I'm leaning.   I don't have a backhoe or a tractor so anything I do will be done by hand.  I'm looking to plant seeds out a little earlier and to start a little nursery.  And let's face it when there is snow on the ground, I'd  like a place to kick around on the weekend.

I imagine having some water barrels and possibly some compost to keep it above freezing but I don't want to run electricity.



We built this for chickens. It's about 10 x 10. I used plans from John Susckovich's smaller chicken tractor (we built one of those too). We added a tarp for now, and will put on greenhouse film shortly for winter roll up sides and some vents. Install nest boxes too. It is SUPER tall. Something like 10' in center and since there is a knee wall will be great if I decide to turn it into a seedling greenhouse in the spring.



I love that one.  You adapted the plans from the smaller one to make this?
 
Leela Olson
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Todd Parr wrote:
I love that one.  You adapted the plans from the smaller one to make this?



Yes, we used some of the concepts for building the larger one, you can see some similarities. We used gothic peak connectors for the tubing, I think we used 1 3/8" top rail tubing and a pipe bender. We got the bender and the connectors from buildmyowngreenhouse.com
I think it was the 12' bender. The top rail may be smaller diameter conduit, and slides through the connectors.
We used 10' tubing on each side...not sure if he cut it or not. PT wood.
 
pollinator
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Leela Olson wrote:This is the John Suscovich model. Farm Marketing Solutions is the name of his site that has plans. It's small though, suitable for knocking your head a lot. Would be good for a tractor for a few chickens raised for meat. I use it for growing out cockerels for my breeding program.
I think it's around 6 x 9




Nice looking structures Leela...I'm leaning toward using the metal fence posts for the main structure.  The cathedral roof looks nice and probably does a great job of shedding the snow.
 
Scott Foster
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PVC will be cheaper, but the chain link top rail and metal will last a lot longer than PVC.  Most PVC isn't intended for prolonged exposure to UV rays.

Walt, I think you are right on the metal lasting longer.

 I don't plan on using this like a chicken tractor so it doesn't have to be lightweight.  I will use it more like a nursery and/or a greenhouse so it will stay wherever I put it.  I will probably sink eye-bolts in concrete for the four corners, so I don't have to worry about it ending up in my neighbor's yard.  It's rare but we can have hurricane-like winds and more often we get some pretty good gusts.


 
Leela Olson
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Our need for a couple of quick structures for winter has led us to the idea of using our dog kennel panels (200' of them!) to build two 15 X 30 or so hoop coops. We will attach 1" or larger diameter pvc conduit (grey) for the hoops, every 2' and put in a center beam and support poles to help shed snow. We will do a gothic peak with elbows.

This will give me 6' of side wall to set up individual breeding pens or cockerel pens if needed. One house will be for girls only, no cocks allowed

 
Scott Foster
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Leela Olson wrote:Our need for a couple of quick structures for winter has led us to the idea of using our dog kennel panels (200' of them!) to build two 15 X 30 or so hoop coops. We will attach 1" or larger diameter pvc conduit (grey) for the hoops, every 2' and put in a center beam and support poles to help shed snow. We will do a gothic peak with elbows.

This will give me 6' of side wall to set up individual breeding pens or cockerel pens if needed. One house will be for girls only, no cocks allowed



Can't wait to see the pictures!  
 
Todd Parr
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Scott Foster wrote: PVC will be cheaper, but the chain link top rail and metal will last a lot longer than PVC.  Most PVC isn't intended for prolonged exposure to UV rays.





That's exactly why I went with cattle panels instead.  They are cheap and damn near indestructible.  Mine look as good as the day I brought them home.  I can't imagine a hoop house that is quicker to put up.  I used plans from Texas Prepper 2 if you want to go that way.  He has a youtube video of the entire build.  The plans have a cut list that you can do without, but I liked his video so much I bought the plans just to help support him.
 
pollinator
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Just thought I'd mention that thin wall electrical conduit (EMT) is usually about 1/2 the cost of chainlink fence rails.

Also, you might consider buying a "Tubing Roller" from Harbor freight.  Then you can make any size hoops you want.  If you sign up for their emails you usually get a 20% off coupon about once a month, that would make the Tubing Roller around $145, unless you catch it on sale.

 
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Great idea Peter! You could even start a business,or if you are "morally grey: simply return the bender when your done with it.
Btw, if you have a smart phone just Google harbor freight coupons, they take them just displayed on your phone.

I have a selection of electrical conduit hand benders,but they can be tricky to use even for 15- 90° bends, and bending an arch with one would take real skill.

I think 1 1/4" thin walled coduit is about the same diameter as top rail, but not as strong .

I
 
Scott Foster
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After hemming and hawing, I finally pulled the trigger and ordered the cathedral-high- tunnel -bender.  

I'd like to thank everyone for the great ideas and input.  

One issue that prompted me to go this route is the snow load.  Another determining factor is written instructions.  I really don't want to waste money screwing up the use of materials.   Hopefully, it's a penny-wise, pound-foolish decision.

I'm excited to do this as it will give me the opportunity to experiment with things like the rocket mass heaters.  A hoop-house should really amp up my ability to propagate and grow the bulk of my stuff from seed, very exciting.

Thanks again for the great communication and suggestions.

Regards,

Scott

P.S.  Here is a link to the bender if interested.


http://www.johnnyseeds.com/tools-supplies/greenhouse-and-tunnel-supplies/benders/quick-hoops-gothic-high-tunnel-bender-7300.0.html
 
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Scott,

I have built three cattle panel hoop houses.  They are incredibly easy to build but small hoop houses have a few drawbacks you need to be aware of.

First, because of their small interior volume, cattle panel hoop houses are incredibly sensitive to temperature fluctuations. When the sun is shining it is not uncommon for the inside temp in mine to be a full thirty degrees hotter than the outside temp. Conversely, when the sun goes down, if the temperature drops, because of their lack of insulation, the temp inside a small hoop house is every bit as cold as the outside temp.

Ironically, this means that instead of providing a stable growing environment for seedlings, a small hoop house actually can create an environment with greater temp. Fluctuations than if you simply put your flats out in the elements.

Because of this problem I have had to repurpose two of my hoop houses as poultry runs. (Nothing gets wasted) i am currently experimenting to see if adding a second layer of plastic with spacers in between can add a layer of insulation and ameliorate temperature fluctuations. Will have it work? No idea. I will be posting my results on my weblog tinkersblessing.com

Hope that helps
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I realy like Travis Johnsons idea. In fact I am preparing to build a 24x40 model of one. The down side is you must have at least some wood working skills. Here is a great video and this guy has plans. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOGV3ucTLsE&list=PLrbDUR_E5-dMOnQ4RFF6AMHwhO2xCorBl
 
William Bronson
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Great share Thomas. I've often thought that hose could be such a spacer.
Black if you wanted to circulate, heat and store water, clear vinyl to avoid interference with sunlight, or if you want to run a "dark water" solar heat collector.
 
Posts: 103
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We built a hoop house this year with help from the Greenriders (35 cross country bike riders).  Still needs a door and windows.  
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pollinator
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Built this cattle panel hoop house 2 years ago. 50 feet long by 10 feet wide with a  door at each end. Foundation of 2x6 boards staple rebared into the ground with the cattle panel stapled to the board.  I remove the greenhouse film in spring and replace with 30% shade cloth.  In the fall, the shade cloth comes off to be replaced with greenhouse film.  Growing figs, citrus, and vegetables inside.
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If you're not averse to using plastic for the cover, there is a product I saw on-line the other day that is intriguing - "solawrap". It has more insulation value, more durable, easier to install than a typical UV-protected plastic. I have no idea how much more expensive it is, but I bet a lot.
The flexible plastic slides into a track that is attached to the hoops. This interested me because we are considering using small diameter logs to build a greenhouse. The problem I haven't figured out how to solve is how to protect the plastic from rubbing against the rough log surface. With "solawrap" the plastic never touches the frame.

 
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Try  googling" Noble Research Institute" hoop house plans. Oklahoma based foundation has a pretty solid looking hoop house.
Filename: nf-ho-12-02.pdf
Description: Hoop house
File size: 12 megabytes
 
Cris Fellows
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Here's some better pictures.  We bought the greenhouse plastic online.  I don't remember what company, but we bought a remnant and saved about 75% on that.  We used metal conduit instead of pvc, and rebar into the ground.  The sides roll up with a long conduit bar and a bike pedal.  
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steward
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Nice greenhouse Cris, do you get snow in your area and if so, does it slide off of that roof?
 
Cris Fellows
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Mike, Yep, NE Ohio.  We had a super small greenhouse prior and snow accumulated.  Not sure what we will get with this one.  We modified plans from mother Earth news but we haven't used the hoop house yet.  Just filled it with soil and compost last week (urban lot, clay that is about as hard as rock underneath.).   Son made a creative door to fit the peaked hole in the front, did not account for the space needed to open said door, so unless you want to slide it in and out, we need a new plan for that, haha!
 
Mike Jay
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Thanks, I'm sure there's some info out there on what pitch is needed for snow, I just have to do some looking before I leap.  

I think I see the door in the back of the greenhouse.  Can you have it open outward?  Although I may be misunderstanding the problem
 
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I rather like working with wood so instead of hoops, I made a wooden modular design out of local douglas fir. It was'nt as difficult as it looks. This is its third season and it has stood up to the very strong winds winds that  we have - up to 140 km/h this year, but attention!! doors closed when it blows.




each of the 12 arches was in three pieces assembled on the bench in my workshop using pocket hole screws and exterior glue. The uprights are screwed to bits of mild steel  from the scrap yard hammered into the ground.
 
pollinator
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Chris, that is a wonderful looking house! What do you grow in it?

Welcome to permies!
 
Cris Fellows
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Mike Jay wrote:
I think I see the door in the back of the greenhouse.  Can you have it open outward?  Although I may be misunderstanding the problem


Yes, that's the door and it fits the hole...if you slide it in.  It needs beveled, or completely redesigned, haha.
 
Scott Foster
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Thomas Vincent wrote:Scott,

I have built three cattle panel hoop houses.  They are incredibly easy to build but small hoop houses have a few drawbacks you need to be aware of.

First, because of their small interior volume, cattle panel hoop houses are incredibly sensitive to temperature fluctuations. When the sun is shining it is not uncommon for the inside temp in mine to be a full thirty degrees hotter than the outside temp. Conversely, when the sun goes down, if the temperature drops, because of their lack of insulation, the temp inside a small hoop house is every bit as cold as the outside temp.

Ironically, this means that instead of providing a stable growing environment for seedlings, a small hoop house actually can create an environment with greater temp. Fluctuations than if you simply put your flats out in the elements.

Because of this problem I have had to repurpose two of my hoop houses as poultry runs. (Nothing gets wasted) i am currently experimenting to see if adding a second layer of plastic with spacers in between can add a layer of insulation and ameliorate temperature fluctuations. Will have it work? No idea. I will be posting my results on my weblog tinkersblessing.com

Hope that helps



Thanks Thomas.  

Great idea on the double layer.  Let us know how it works out.  I was watching a Curtis Stone video and he's saying you get an R-5 factor insulation if you use a blower.  He's saying it uses the same amount of eclectricity as a light-bulb.  I wonder if you could hook something like this up
to solar.  






 
Scott Foster
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Thank Chris!  Beautiful work, there is no doubt that wood adds something to the aesthetic, nicely done.

Regards, Scott
 
Scott Foster
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Mike Turner wrote:Built this cattle panel hoop house 2 years ago. 50 feet long by 10 feet wide with a  door at each end. Foundation of 2x6 boards staple rebared into the ground with the cattle panel stapled to the board.  I remove the greenhouse film in spring and replace with 30% shade cloth.  In the fall, the shade cloth comes off to be replaced with greenhouse film.  Growing figs, citrus, and vegetables inside.



Thanks, Mike.  Looks great!  Good idea with the shade cloth.  Love to see how you used the bicycle parts to do the roll-up.

Regards, Scott
 
Scott Foster
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Robert Hinrich wrote:I realy like Travis Johnsons idea. In fact I am preparing to build a 24x40 model of one. The down side is you must have at least some wood working skills. Here is a great video and this guy has plans. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOGV3ucTLsE&list=PLrbDUR_E5-dMOnQ4RFF6AMHwhO2xCorBl



That's a piece of art.
 
Thomas Vincent
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Scott,

I had actually thought of using a blower. (In the picture of mine you can see a small vent fan that runs off a Tractor Supply solar panel.) but in the end I decided it was adding a layer of complexity I didn't need. The chief advantage of the cattle panel design is its simplicity.

I do like the idea of using water pipes as spacers. Too bad I'm almost finished with the retrofit. Just in time. Night time temps here in the Pacific Northwest are going to be in the thirties tonight!

I am amazed by the elegance of some of the designs on thus thread. Some creative posters out there.
 
Scott Foster
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Thomas Vincent wrote:Scott,

I had actually thought of using a blower. (In the picture of mine you can see a small vent fan that runs off a Tractor Supply solar panel.) but in the end I decided it was adding a layer of complexity I didn't need. The chief advantage of the cattle panel design is its simplicity.

I do like the idea of using water pipes as spacers. Too bad I'm almost finished with the retrofit. Just in time. Night time temps here in the Pacific Northwest are going to be in the thirties tonight!

I am amazed by the elegance of some of the designs on thus thread. Some creative posters out there.



I hear you on the simplicity thing...you could really go crazy with a heat sink floor and etc.  If there is enough room I like the idea of using black barrels filled with H2O and doing something with a wood chip compost pile to get some extra heat.   It gets below zero here so I'm not really sure what to expect...you can do a lot of reading but I'm finding that you don't learn the nuances until you do it.    Ut looks like the second layer will also help you with condensation.   Keep us posted.

I'm really impressed with all of the quality posts and great hoop houses...great community.
 
Thomas Vincent
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Scott,

Using water as thermal mass is tricky. Actually one of the first things I tried were 50 gal plastic barrels wrapped in roofing felt. Last winter when the temp dropped below zero they froze solid! Even worse, they stayed frozen for the rest of the winter. I don't really understand why. You'd have to ask a physicist I guess.

If you are thinking of using water as thermal mass, gallon milk jugs painted black work much better. I wonder, does anyone out there in permie-ville have experience using antifreeze in their water jugs?
 
Mike Jay
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As I understand it (I'm not a physicist), if the average temperature in your greenhouse is going to be at or below freezing, your 55 gallon drums (or one gallon jugs) will freeze.  They don't add heat to the greenhouse they just store it when the temperature is high during the day and release it when the temperature is low at night.  So they mellow out the temperature swings.  Little jugs will heat up faster and lose their heat quicker so by morning they likely will have lost all their stored heat.  55 gallon drums will store it longer so they can help get you through a 3 day cloudy spell.

I think a combination of small and large thermal mass would help if you have cloudy weather.  If you are in a routinely sunny place, the size of the mass may not be as important as long as it can get you through the night or a cold spell.

I believe painting them black would work a lot better than wrapping them with roofing felt.  While the felt likely gets hot, transferring that heat into the barrel will be inefficient.  Overall the thermal energy is staying inside the greenhouse, but since it isn't transferring efficiently, the greenhouse will be heating up more during the day and cooling off more at night.

If you use antifreeze, it would keep them from freezing.  But since it would then be below 32F in your greenhouse, you couldn't grow much anyway.  They'd average out the temperature swings but it would still be cold.

 
chris thorpe
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I grow tomatoes, aubergines, bell peppers and chilies in the summer and salads and carrots in the winter. After reading one of the other posts, I'm thinking of adding shading in the summer as the temperature got up to 55C this year even with the doors open permanently.
 
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We have made several hoop houses, the longest around 20 metres. Used new materials, but they have long term durability. The hoops are 2" black poly pipe that slips over steel pickets at around 2metre intervals. The longitudinal are "Top Hat" steel ceiling patterns which cost $7 for each 6 metre length. We used second hand corrugated iron sheets around the bottom, wired onto the poly uprights. Winter conditions here in Queensland, Australia are not as harsh as USA so our coverings are hail netting on two and chicken wire on the big one. You would have to cover sharp ends for plastic. Mainly we wanted protection from marauding wildlife, but the added protection from wind and sun is also helpful. Our houses are 4 metres across, using 7 metre hoops, which gives us not only head hight but room to drive a tractor inside. We but a gate in one end, but the other end we have made removable to allow full tractor access, not that we have needed that yet.
Filename: hoop-house-1.pdf
File size: 48 Kbytes
Filename: hoop-house-2.pdf
File size: 60 Kbytes
Filename: hoop-house-3.pdf
File size: 48 Kbytes
 
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chris thorpe wrote:I grow tomatoes, aubergines, bell peppers and chilies in the summer and salads and carrots in the winter. After reading one of the other posts, I'm thinking of adding shading in the summer as the temperature got up to 55C this year even with the doors open permanently.



You could cover it with shade cloth, or add windows or doors that open for a cross breeze. Can you see the photos at this link? https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1319253844868201&set=pcb.1319255221534730&type=3&theater I'm not sure how it works, but there is a triangular shaped addition on the top to let the heat out in the summer. If that URL isn't visible I'll see if I can find the company's site that makes them.

I have a bunch of notes about hoop houses:

For winter growing, best to orient it east / west to maximize sun

Put hoop house in full sun area; each layer of protection moves space 1.5 zones to the south

Use compost for heat

Grow in the ground stay warmer; pots repeatedly freeze even in hoop houses. Larger soil mass = warmer

Have mature plants going into the freezing weather because cold slows germination

Above freezing vent both layers; below freezing leave both layers closed;  20-32 degrees vent inner layer;

Water less in winter - only watered once a month?? Never water when freezing weather

Don't harvest from frozen plants - let them thaw or it can kill them.

Insulate north wall; use barrels of water to keep temp above freezing; PCMs (phase change materials) absorb heat by melting and release heat when temperature drops - PCMs are available with different working temperatures

Make vertical trellices  


XLNT VIDEO w/ list of winter crops

Crops we're growing now for a winter harvest:

Under One Layer of Protection
Claytonia
Dandelion Greens
French Sorrel Giant Red Mustard Greens
Good King Henry
Mache
Mustard Greens
Perpetual Spinach
Sea Kale
Sunchokes
Tatsoi
Tree Collards

Two Layers of Protection
Chives
Claytonia
Dandelion Greens
Dinosaur Kale
Egyptian Walking Onions
Endive
Garlic Chives
Georgia Collards
Giant Red Mustard Greens
Italian Dandelion Greens
Lettuce (Black Seeded Simpson)
Lettuce (Romaine)
Mache
Minutina
Mustard Greens
Parsley
Perpetual Spinach
Fordhook Giant Swiss Chard
Red Veined Sorrel
Spinach
Tatsoi
Tree Collards
Vates Kale



 
Thomas Vincent
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Scott,

Finished adding the second layer of plastic on my cattle panel hoop house.
See my blog for pictures: tinkersblessing.com

Mixed results so far. Tried one of those flowerpot heaters last night with three tea candles. Was surprised that the temperature actually went up a few degrees. Unfortunately tea candles don't last very long so the temp this morning was same as outdoors again.

Read a post about prevention of cold air infiltration being critical to retaining heat so I spent the morning sealing up all the cracks I could find. Overcast day today in the forties. Not much solar gain. Inside temp remained same as outside. Tomorrow I plan to replace the roofing felt on my water barrels with black paint. Will add some black ceramic tiles and some black milk jugs as well. Bound and determined to have a passive solar growing space where the inside temp is above freezing in the morning.
 
Scott Foster
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Thomas Vincent wrote:Scott,

Finished adding the second layer of plastic on my cattle panel hoop house.
See my blog for pictures: tinkersblessing.com

Mixed results so far. Tried one of those flowerpot heaters last night with three tea candles. Was surprised that the temperature actually went up a few degrees. Unfortunately tea candles don't last very long so the temp this morning was same as outdoors again.

Read a post about prevention of cold air infiltration being critical to retaining heat so I spent the morning sealing up all the cracks I could find. Overcast day today in the forties. Not much solar gain. Inside temp remained same as outside. Tomorrow I plan to replace the roofing felt on my water barrels with black paint. Will add some black ceramic tiles and some black milk jugs as well. Bound and determined to have a passive solar growing space where the inside temp is above freezing in the morning.



Another idea, maybe for next year what about some miniature hugel mounds.   Even if you are using pots you could snuggle the pots into the hugel and surround with sawdust.  Or start a compost pile and somehow integrate your pots into that. I'm not sure what that would do to the roots when you move the pot though.     It got down to 38 last night and this is one of my hugels this AM.  The mint looks better than it's looked all year.   Last weekend I started prepping half of the hugel for winter and I've got clover coming back up.


IMG_8045.JPG
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Hugel 1
IMG_8044.JPG
[Thumbnail for IMG_8044.JPG]
Hugel 2
 
Thomas Vincent
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Okay, this one's for anyone who's still following this thread. Yesterday I finished adding a second layer of plastic to my cattle panel hoop house. Spent two hours sealing up the seams. Still not hermetically sealed but reasonable. This morning I come out. Seven thirty AM, overcast, outside temp is 41 degrees F inside temp is 39 degrees! It's actually colder inside than outside! .

It's sure got me stumped.
Thoughts?
 
Todd Parr
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Thomas Vincent wrote:Okay, this one's for anyone who's still following this thread. Yesterday I finished adding a second layer of plastic to my cattle panel hoop house. Spent two hours sealing up the seams. Still not hermetically sealed but reasonable. This morning I come out. Seven thirty AM, overcast, outside temp is 41 degrees F inside temp is 39 degrees! It's actually colder inside than outside! .

It's sure got me stumped.
Thoughts?



In my experience, thermometers can easily be off by a couple degrees.  I would watch it for a couple days and follow temperature trends, rather than what it says the temperature actually is.
 
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