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PVC Hoop House

Posts: 1
Location: Austin, Texas USA
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Ok, admittedly I don't know much about many subjects under the permaculture umbrella, but I'm retired and have lots of time (and interest) to learn.
This last summer I planted a raised bed with a drip line lying on the ground next to my house (southern exposure) at my place in the woods about an hour east of Austin, TX.
I was very happy and enthusiastic about the results from: watermelon, green bell and banana peppers, string beans, cucumbers, basil, sage and corn.
I'm ready to kick it up a bit. I plan to put a hoop greenhouse up next week with the ribs made of 1/2" sched 40 pvc and cover it with 6 mil clear painter's drop cloth.
In the summer garden, I used cinder blocks, one course high and filled with organic garden soil, about 10 feet long, 3 feet wide.
I plan to do the same in the greenhouse and plant a fall garden. It will be close enough to power that I can put in a heat lamp or two at night to protect from damaging low temps this winter.
I would love to do the aquaponics route, but am unsure about venturing there on my own with so little time before planting and just one layer of plastic covering the pvc.
Would love to do solar power to power the heaters but am sure the expense of doing solar to run space heaters would be high. Thinking of putting items painted black in the greenhouse.
The new cinder blocks, a friend suggested 1 gallon water jugs painted black, filled with water and lined up inside...
Advice? More reading?
Barry (Much, the Miller's Son) Watson
Posts: 4665
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
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Howdy Barry, welcome to permies! Be sure to take a look around at some of the older threads, there is a lot of good info around here.

Sounds like you have a good start, I don't know much about your area but a green house up north here is a nice thing to have.

Are you familiar with Jack Spirko? He is down in your area and is doing a lot of good permaculture stuff.

Jack Spirko's classes.

And here is a short video from Peter Bane that might give you some more ideas.

Posts: 632
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Painter's drop cloth or polyethylene is pretty cheap, but it has very little resistance to UV damage and is generally a one or two season plastic.

You can buy UV stabilized greenhouse plastic, and it will last about 5 years.

You can get an idea on price from ebay vendors:


You may also have a local supplier that might be a better deal.

There is no wrong answer here...

Posts: 531
Location: North-Central Idaho, 4100 ft elev., 24 in precip
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I would definitely invest in UV stabilized greenhouse film for this project. It is quite a bit more expensive, but you will save yourself lots of frustration and be much more likely to have success. I've known several people who just gave up on greenhouse idea just because they couldn't keep the glazing in place. Do yourself a favor and get the greenhouse film. If you just want to try it out only get enough to do a single section of your hoop, there are many internet sources that will custom cut lengths for you.
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