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1500 sq. ft. High Tunnel Hoop House: budget=$5000. Need ideas  RSS feed

 
Ryan Koeneke
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I have a grant from the NRCS for a high tunnel hoop house.  The requirements are - it has to be a commercial kit that is bought from a dealer, roughly 1500 sq feet, and I have to grow in the ground.

I'm hoping for suggestions on manufacturer, helpful/necessary upgrades, end wall suggestions, and floor plan layout ideas.

I have room for a 20-35' width and more than enough length to make it 1500 sq foot.


Main things I'm grappling with: single poly layer or double inflated, shade cloth importance, quonset vs gothic, plastic endwalls (for asthetics), roll up side options (it will just be me taking care of this), and whether or not to make the floor a bunch of huglebeds, slight (~4") raised beds, or just layout walkways and plant in the ground as is.


I'm in Western Colorado at ~6300' ASL. avg max temp in july is 94.3, avg min temp in jan is 11.4, I will remove the plastic in the winter so avg snowfall is 33.8 in./yr. We do have strong winds and the occasional microburst that makes this old house i'm in flex.
 
R Scott
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Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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If you are removing the plastic in the winter, the gothic won't add much.  Unless you get very early or very late wet shows that are within the growing season.

double plastic makes a HUGE difference if you have reliable power, not just in warmth but in strength. It makes it much more wind resistant. 

You will have to do the math on the cheapest size.  Do it in relation to actual bed space, not the total sq footage.

A buried wood bed works well.  Easier to do all the bed amendments before you build the tunnel, especially if you have access to a tractor.

And walls are tough, as are side curtains.  They make or break the aesthetics.
 
Ryan Koeneke
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Thanks scott, 

Does the double plastic have an adverse affect on the amount of usable light to the plants? I've heard every 6mil layer you put on is like a 15% reduction in usable light.  In the early spring and late fall when sunlight is at a premium does this adversely affect whats growing underneath? Also... is it worth the cost of the blower and all that... I have access to line power from my house that can easily be run to the hoop house.  Plus if plastic is coming up and down every spring and fall is it a ton of hassle to be hooking up the inflated system all the time? From talking to locals who know what they are doing it sounds like I should be running shade cloth in June-early Aug so idk if the double wall is the best..... idk man. thoughts?

Doesn't actual bed space correlate directly to sq. ft.?

I do have a tractor with a backhoe and would be doing the hugle beds before the structure is built.

Thanks for all the input .... it is GREATLY appreciated!
 
Dave Dahlsrud
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Location: North-Central Idaho, 4100 ft elev., 24 in precip
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Hugels work great in the greenhouse for us, so I would definitely do that!  Make them nice and deep then build up as much as the grant will allow.  Mine are about three feet high and look like a regular raised bed, but the performance is stellar (even better than planting directly into the ground), plus they're super easy to work in and warm up early in the spring.  Roll up sides are almost a must during the warmest part of the year, they really do a lot to keep the plants happy.  For the film we started out with a single poly layer, but recently upgraded to SolaWrap.  It's like giant bubble wrap so it maintains that double layer without a blower, and is super tough.  This produces a nice diffuse light that the plants seem to do well with this time of year.  You could put shade cloth on the west side to break up the hot afternoon sun or just cover individual plants or rows.  Our end walls are clear poly and have held up really well so far and look nice.
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R Scott
Posts: 3341
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Yes, you do lose a little light due to the second layer.  It is a tradeoff between light and heat.  You can add led light cheaper than propane heat.  The blower takes 10 minutes to set up.  Putting two layers of plastic up and down does take more time, but that adds up to a couple hours a year.  It really depends on how far into the shoulder you want to grow.

bed space doesn't equal sq. footage because of pathways.  How you set up your bed width and pathways can make a huge difference in space efficiency, especially if you want cart path(s). 

Watch and read Curtis Stone and JM Fortier for lots of good info on space efficiency.
 
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