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Scott Foster
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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.
 
William Bronson
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Sounds like you want a "high hoop" house.
Instead of pvc, chain link fence top rail  or rebar might server.
 
Scott Foster
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William Bronson wrote: Sounds like you want a "high hoop" house.
Instead of pvc, chain link fence top rail  or rebar might server.


Yes, I think you are right.  I'm not looking to hoop a raised bed I want a walk-in space more like a greenhouse.     Don't you need a specialized jig or tool to bend the fence rail?
 
Katy Rose
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We're going to try to build a cattle panel greenhouse this fall. There are lots of videos of these on Youtube, but I really like the ones by Edible Acres (e.g. 
  ). Seems like it might suit your needs well!
 
Scott Foster
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Katy Rose wrote:We're going to try to build a cattle panel greenhouse this fall. There are lots of videos of these on Youtube, but I really like the ones by Edible Acres (e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhB8XntRrZ8 ). Seems like it might suit your needs well!


Hi Katy!  Thanks for the suggestion.  I have watched this video...looks like a great option.  The only thing I don't like about this method is the amount of headroom.
 
Mike Jay
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I built a cattle panel greenhouse-like structure for my chicken run.  I wanted more size and head room so I put one side up on some pallets.  They are attached to the coop at one and and do an "L" at the other so they stay vertical.  They are also sitting on a row of cinder blocks.  This gives me about 7 feet of headroom in the middle and about a 10' wide structure.  If you just did a double layer of cinder blocks down each side you'd add 16" to the headroom of the "standard" Edible Acres greenhouse.
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Coop and run
 
Joshua Parke
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Scott Foster wrote:Don't you need a specialized jig or tool to bend the fence rail?


Yes.  Hoop Benders  <--here's a site I bookmarked when I was looking into this.

I don't have any plans saved.  I just googled lots of images and sites, and youtubed videos.  The hoops are spaced from 3' - 4' on average.  People with lots of snow space the hoops closer together.  I built a half attached hoop, using pvc, before I knew of the rail/hoop benders, and I was originally going to go with 2' hoop spacing....that was way too close, so I went with 3' spacing.  I was more concerned with wind.

As I was reading about hoop houses, one of the tips I kept reading from people who have built a couple of em... use rope or strapping to zig zag along the outside of the HH, starting at one of the corners then go up over the peak to the opposite side and just keep zig zagging..  This provides lots of strength to the structure, from what I recall, as well as prevents billowing.
 
Todd Parr
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I have built 2 of them from cattle panels, one as a greenhouse and one attached to the chicken coop to give my chickens a snow-free place to get outside in the winter.  I put mine to the ground and there is still plenty of headroom for me to walk around in it.  I'm not certain of the height in the center.  If you wanted one that was much bigger, you could either use more panels in a row to make it longer, or weld 2 panels together end-to-end to make it taller and wider.  That would require some additional bracing I would think, but would be easy to do.
 
William Bronson
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Hers a way to bend top rail without buying a bender:

https://goingtoseed.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/img_2714wtmk.jpg

Of course If I was using toprail, I might not use a hoop shape at all. Instead,I would use rail ends to build a strait sided pitched roof design:
rail-end-cups.jpg
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Katy Rose
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Mike Jay, that is an awesome structure!!  My chickens are jealous (or would be, if they visited the permies forums).
 
Mike Jay
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Awwww, shucks...  Thanks Katy  

My plan is to cover it with plastic for the winter so they have a warm, dry place to play.  I'm filling it with leaves (per Edible Acres) so when the add their little nuggets of goodness, it will compost over the winter and maybe give them some extra heat.  If I'm really lucky, it will be warm enough in the early spring to start some seedlings (on a chicken proof shelf). 
 
Todd Parr
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Mike Jay wrote:Awwww, shucks...  Thanks Katy  

My plan is to cover it with plastic for the winter so they have a warm, dry place to play.  I'm filling it with leaves (per Edible Acres) so when the add their little nuggets of goodness, it will compost over the winter and maybe give them some extra heat.  If I'm really lucky, it will be warm enough in the early spring to start some seedlings (on a chicken proof shelf). 


I'm doing mine much the same Mike, except I'm using wood chips in there.  I don't expect to get any appreciable amount of composting as cold as it gets here, but at least it will be warmed for them to walk on than the frozen ground.  If I had a better way to hold the heat it would work better.  I had many days go to 100 degrees or more last winter.  It was mostly an experiment to see how warm it would get.  This year I plan to leave the door open all day on sunny days.  I can't believe that 100 degrees down to -20 is too good for them.
 
Katy Rose
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Mike Jay wrote:Awwww, shucks...  Thanks Katy  

My plan is to cover it with plastic for the winter so they have a warm, dry place to play.  I'm filling it with leaves (per Edible Acres) so when the add their little nuggets of goodness, it will compost over the winter and maybe give them some extra heat.  If I'm really lucky, it will be warm enough in the early spring to start some seedlings (on a chicken proof shelf). 


I would love to execute this exact plan! I hope you'll keep us posted. Right now we just have a small number of meat birds, so we won't be keeping them through this winter, but we plan to get some dual purpose birds next year. So many ideas, so little time.
 
Mike Jay
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Todd Parr wrote: I don't expect to get any appreciable amount of composting as cold as it gets here, but at least it will be warmed for them to walk on than the frozen ground.  If I had a better way to hold the heat it would work better.


My starting point was this Edible Acres video about chickens loving life on some compost piles in the dead of winter.  I figured if he can do it down south in New York, I could possibly keep compost going if it was in a hoop up here where it gets a bit colder.  I'm not sure if I'll be able to get the piles as high as his with my feed stock but we'll see.  Worst case, as you suggested, it should be better than hard frozen ground.
 
Todd Parr
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Mike Jay wrote:
Todd Parr wrote: I don't expect to get any appreciable amount of composting as cold as it gets here, but at least it will be warmed for them to walk on than the frozen ground.  If I had a better way to hold the heat it would work better.


My starting point was this Edible Acres video about chickens loving life on some compost piles in the dead of winter.  I figured if he can do it down south in New York, I could possibly keep compost going if it was in a hoop up here where it gets a bit colder.  I'm not sure if I'll be able to get the piles as high as his with my feed stock but we'll see.  Worst case, as you suggested, it should be better than hard frozen ground.


If you can make the piles big enough it might work.  If I remember right, he would go out and break the crust off the top of them.  Maybe I'll extend mine a couple more panels to give me some room for a big pile in there.  Who knows, it will be a worthwhile experiment no matter how it turns out.  I would love it if it would work here as well.
 
Mike Jay
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I hear you, it will be interesting.  That's part of why I used the pallets.  My plan was to build the piles against the wall so they could be 4-5' high.  I'm finding that chickens like everything level and they quickly distribute the leaves evenly around the run :(

He also puts a lot of whole grain in with the leaves since he has a local source.  I don't yet but if I can get some cheap organic wheat/oats/etc I'll get them and sprinkle liberally.  I might consider some other Nitrogen as well.  Not sure if coffee grounds would work with the chickens in there?
 
Todd Parr
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If nothing else, coffee grounds will bring lots of worms for them to eat.  It can't hurt.

My chickens level everything too  
 
Todd Parr
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On a related note, anyone have an idea for covering the sharp edges of the panels so the plastic doesn't tear?  I used pipe insulation on my first one and it worked well, but the chickens "removed" it for me on the one I attached to their coop, and then the wind blowing on the plastic rubs holes in it on the edges where the sharp pieces snag.  This year I may rip down one side of PVC pipe with my table saw and put the pipes over the panel edges, but I'd love to hear other suggestions.
 
Mark Tudor
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I saw some video of folks who built compost bins along the north side of a greenhouse and piled leaves etc high in there. Then they separate those piles from the interior space with screen rather than solid panels, and as the piles cook they give off some of that heat to the space. In one video it was 26 outside, and the pile facing into the greenhouse was reading 85-95 for the surface temps. So that might be an option to improve heat output and also provide a good deal of insulation to the north side.
 
Todd Parr
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Mark Tudor wrote:I saw some video of folks who built compost bins along the north side of a greenhouse and piled leaves etc high in there. Then they separate those piles from the interior space with screen rather than solid panels, and as the piles cook they give off some of that heat to the space. In one video it was 26 outside, and the pile facing into the greenhouse was reading 85-95 for the surface temps. So that might be an option to improve heat output and also provide a good deal of insulation to the north side.


The only side I have available on mine is on the west, but I may be able to work with something like that.  The way mine sits, the coop is to the north and the greenhouse part of it is on the south so it gets lots of sun, but I may be able to make a compost area along the west wall and get some additional heat at night.
 
Scott Foster
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Thanks, Mike nice looking structure.  Did you use concrete to stabilize the blocks? 
 
Scott Foster
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[

Thanks Joshua, I will check out that link.






 
Mike Jay
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Hi Scott, I just set the blocks about an inch into the ground and butted them up against one another.  No mortar, no footing, no foundation.  I think it will work.  I'm anticipating it will all frost heave the same amount. 
 
Scott Foster
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Mike Jay wrote:

My plan is to cover it with plastic for the winter so they have a warm, dry place to play.  I'm filling it with leaves (per Edible Acres) so when the add their little nuggets of goodness, it will compost over the winter and maybe give them some extra heat.  If I'm really lucky, it will be warm enough in the early spring to start some seedlings (on a chicken proof shelf). 


Check out this vid Mike and all

 
Katy Rose
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Mark Tudor wrote:I saw some video of folks who built compost bins along the north side of a greenhouse and piled leaves etc high in there. Then they separate those piles from the interior space with screen rather than solid panels, and as the piles cook they give off some of that heat to the space. In one video it was 26 outside, and the pile facing into the greenhouse was reading 85-95 for the surface temps. So that might be an option to improve heat output and also provide a good deal of insulation to the north side.


Ooh, neat idea. I'm loving this thread!
 
Kevin Derheimer
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Hi Scott, have you seen the hoop benders and instructions at Johnnys Seeds?

I'm planning on building one of the gothic high tunnels next spring, they have a handy material calculator and detailed plans.  These are the high tunnels Elliott Coleman uses.  I like them because you can pick them up and move them and they can be built in modules.

Benders are under products tab and instructions and material calculator under information tab

http://www.johnnyseeds.com/content-search/?q=Bender
 
Walt Chase
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Here is another option to the bender from johnnys seeds.  These folks actually came up with the idea.  http://www.hoopbenders.net/ ; I plan on using these tools in the next year or two for a hoop house.  I just have to finish clearing the area of stumps etc. and get it ready for the hoop house.
 
Scott Foster
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Kevin Derheimer wrote:Hi Scott, have you seen the hoop benders and instructions at Johnnys Seeds?

I'm planning on building one of the gothic high tunnels next spring, they have a handy material calculator and detailed plans.  These are the high tunnels Elliott Coleman uses.  I like them because you can pick them up and move them and they can be built in modules.

Benders are under products tab and instructions and material calculator under information tab

http://www.johnnyseeds.com/content-search/?q=Bender


The Cathedral is pretty sweet.  I'll price this out at the box store and see what parts would cost.  I'm not sure what the price comparison is between PVC and the Chainlink top-posts.
 
Scott Foster
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Walt Chase wrote:Here is another option to the bender from johnnys seeds.  These folks actually came up with the idea.  http://www.hoopbenders.net/ ; I plan on using these tools in the next year or two for a hoop house.  I just have to finish clearing the area of stumps etc. and get it ready for the hoop house.



I will check it out.  Thanks Walt.
 
Walt Chase
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Scott Foster wrote:
Kevin Derheimer wrote:Hi Scott, have you seen the hoop benders and instructions at Johnnys Seeds?

I'm planning on building one of the gothic high tunnels next spring, they have a handy material calculator and detailed plans.  These are the high tunnels Elliott Coleman uses.  I like them because you can pick them up and move them and they can be built in modules.

Benders are under products tab and instructions and material calculator under information tab

http://www.johnnyseeds.com/content-search/?q=Bender


The Cathedral is pretty sweet.  I'll price this out at the box store and see what parts would cost.  I'm not sure what the price comparison is between PVC and the Chainlink top-posts.


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.
 
William Bronson
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To protect the plastic from the edges of the panel, maybe slit a garden hose down one side?
I use this to make actual blades safe,so it should work on hog panels. Just be sure to zip tie every few feet.
Pvc might work, but it seems stiffer than the panels.
 
Todd Parr
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William Bronson wrote: To protect the plastic from the edges of the panel, maybe slit a garden hose down one side?
I use this to make actual blades safe,so it should work on hog panels. Just be sure to zip tie every few feet.
Pvc might work, but it seems stiffer than the panels.


William, thanks!  That's an excellent idea and I have a garden hose that I ran over and tore a hole in it that I haven't thrown away.  Awesome idea.
 
Travis Johnson
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Around here a lot of sailboat owners bring their boats out of the water and fix them up over the winter. They require big structures to keep off snow, yet need heat, so what they use is strapping and plastic. It is essentially a cheap greenhouse.

The Strapping is type of building product in the Northeast, but all it is is boards at 1x3, or in reality boards 3/4 thick, and 2-1/2 inches wide. To hold up the plastic, they put them every 4 feet on center, laid flat ways, and screwed end to end to make massive arches that go over the sailboats. Sometimes they are tradional arches, and other times not. But they have to have a top and bottom cord so blocks are put in between the two arches in the center of the span and this is what gives the wood rigidity.

The plastic is stapled to that, end walls are made, heat is introduced, and for very little money the boat carpenters can work on the sailboats all winter warm and dry. Many greenhouses here are built in the same way.

bow-shed-1.jpg
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Mike Jay
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Thanks Travis, that's a great photo.  I saw a similar curved truss in another photo somewhere on here.  It's nice to see it is used regularly.  What kind of foundation do they put under these?  And/or how do they keep them from blowing away due to their high profile.  I'm kind of interested in adapting that curved truss into my greenhouse design.
 
Travis Johnson
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Around here, because of the jacks they use to hold up the boat under its hull, they use bare ground. I am not sure how they secure them. The big boat companies use jersey Barriers, but I don't think that is warranted.

If I was to build one like this, and I do plan to some day, I plan to have bare earth. I thought about buying a few of those cheap cement blocks that have the cut outs in them for 2x 4's (They look like plus signs as viewed from above for porch posts, etc). I would use a 2 x 4 on edge the entire length of my building, but to secure it so the building did not pull upwards in high winds, I would buy dog tie-outs that auger into the ground. Again, around here they are cheap at around $2 a piece.

The best way to put them in the ground is with an impact wrench and a socket that is not used a lot. In my case I NEVER use a 1-1/16 socket, so I cut a slot in one with a 4-1/2 angle grinder and thin cut off wheel. That allows the "notch" in the socket to fit over the bent steel head of the dog tie out, then crank it into the ground using a generator to run the air compressor to run the impact wrench. Of course a battery impact wrench will work, or just use a breaker bar if you do not mind a lot of cranking by hand. Obviously a person has to connect the dog tie out stake to the 2 x 4, but that is easily done with cable, spikes, or plumbers tape (which the latter is what I did) This is how I cranked some in to hold my kids play set to the earth and it worked well. I am thinking if a person did this every 6-8 feet, it would keep the greenhouse from flying away in wind for the least amount of money.

Cement Block with 2 x 4 on edge and dog tie out stake.


th.jpg
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William Bronson
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That seems so simple! I love the all wood construction.
The flat surface that can be stapled or screwed into is very appealing.
I can see doing an inner and outer layer of glazing, and adding horizontal strapping to the outside to grow grapevines-shade when you need it,bare when you dont.
 
Todd Parr
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Travis, very cool picture, thanks.
 
Mike Jay
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Thanks Travis, good ideas.  For a greenhouse I'd want a more impenetrable foundation (mice and heat loss) but I don't want to do anything too complex.  I like the auger tie downs. 
 
Leela Olson
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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.
10x10.jpg
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Leela Olson
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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
smalltractor.jpg
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girl power ... turns out to be about a hundred watts. But they seriuosly don't like being connected to the grid. Tiny ad:
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