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Post  Errol on 3/7/2011, 9:11 am

Since I am "new" at sfg, I see where some are talking about "hoops". I guess they are used to cover with plastic to act as mini hot house's in cold weather, and I would assume they could be covered with chicken wire to keep out pests. I would think they need to be tall enough to clear the plants when they are fully mature. I was wondering where I could find some instructions on building hoops. And what about the ends? how would they attach? could sure use some of you guys and gals knowledge!!
thanks
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Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 3/7/2011, 10:02 am

You may be talking about my thread. So, if you don't mind, I'll elaborate a little......but I used youtube for several ideas. And, if you look through that thread again, you will see several of us have some ideas.....and I hope we describe them at some point, but can't remember.

Reader's Digest version.

You need:

-Rebar, or "conduit clamps." Your choice.
-10 foot sections of PVC....super cheap from a big box hardware store
- 6mm contractor's plastic.....sold in varying sizes at same hardware store, but in painting department because it's really dropcloth
- Spring clamps....(just ask at the hardware store, they will know what you mean) at least 4 of them.

If you use the rebar method, just pound the rebar into the ground until 6-12 inches sticks out. Hopefully, the same length, at least, is in the ground, too. Put one end of the PVC pipe on a piece of rebar and just bend it over and slide it onto the rebar directly on the opposite side of your garden.

If you use the clamps, it takes more effort, but I put my clamps/bands on the inside of the box so they would be applying pressure outward instead of pulling on the screws fastening it. However, I don't think it makes much of a difference. Again, bending the PVC pipe over to the direct opposite side and attaching it there with another band.

I place my hoops every two feet. And, once in place, it should look like a covered wagon without the cover. For added stability, I added another 10 foot piece down the "spine" of the hoops and lashed it in place with twine.

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Now, just drape your plastic over the top. Make sure the plastic is about two feet longer, though, on each end of your garden. You need that extra length to fold the plastic up and clamp it closed. Anchor with bricks, or whatever you have, and you are all set. The tighter you anchor it down, the better protection I've found you get from the wind possibly untucking the bottoms....but you still need to watch it the first few days.

Toss an outdoor thermometer inside, with a max/min feature, and you can watch the temps periodically to figure out how much differential you are getting from the outside. My max/min therm was $6 at Walmart. Now, for the fun part...

You will likely find that plastic doesn't do much for heat retention at night, but WOW does it heat up with a touch of sunshine. You may see 50F difference from the air temp and inside during the day. So, be prepared to ventilate by opening up the ends or rolling up the sides....or both.

At night, you may need to have an extra layer of protection available if temps are forecast to get below 30F. A 2nd layer of plastic, or a floating row cover, placed right on top of the plants should be enough. If you really want to go crazy, I've had great results with one gallon milk jugs. I place them around the perimeter of the inside of my garden and put the 2nd player of plastic over everything. I can keep the hoophouse above freezing down to 25F consistently now.

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Painting them black helps them absorb heat during the day. The warmer your jugs get, the higher your temps stay at night.

And, yes, once the plastic is no longer needed, I will be replacing it with bird netting to keep out the critters.

This setup will be under $30 for a 4x12 garden most likely, unless you have to buy both layers of plastic.

As for "tall enough," it should be fine. Mine stands at least 4 feet high in the center. And, I thought the arches would encroach on the plants on the outsides, but it won't. The plastic rises fast enough there won't be any problems. By the time the plants get tall enough, I won't need the plastic anymore. It may be more of an issue in fall, but I plan on planting carrots and lettuces around the outside squares and keeping my broccoli and cauliflower on the inside squares to combat this.

Hope that helps.
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Post  Errol on 3/7/2011, 1:01 pm

Backyardbirder, thank you for posting this. You sure explained it well and the picture made everything very clear. I will be getting some bird netting for I already have the 6mm plastic. thank you again and have a nice day! I already planted some turnip greens and more radishes and green onions this morning.
Errol
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Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 3/7/2011, 1:13 pm

BackYardBirdGardner has the right idea. We've used a version in our side garden for the last several years, but used sliced-off sections of defunct well pipe pounded at intervals on each side of the raised bed, then pushed the ends of the hoops into the pipes. To fasten the plastic over the hoops, we've used garden hoop clips like these: http://www.territorialseed.com/product/1657/s . Works very well over both plastic and mesh. Our clips are going on seven years old and no breakage. Since we've gone to SFG, the two major beds have been redone, and one will have a hoop house erected over it, usiing the old well pipe and PVC pipes. Thanks for the idea about using drop cloths for the plastic instead of expensive greenhouse plastic. Instead of using gallon milk jugs for heat storage, I save the green containers cat litter is packaged in--they're larger than gallon size and already a dark color. Nonna, St. Helens, OR
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Post  madnicmom on 3/7/2011, 1:49 pm

Thank you BYBG. That really helped me understand "hoops" . Now, I'm wondering.. I saw bird netting at Home Depot/Lowe's and it looked like it would block the sun, could of been the packaging , with it gathered together. I'm starting a strawberry bed for the hubby and need to figure out what I need to do about netting. BUT I definetely like your hoop plans.

Thank you!
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Post  Weedless_ on 3/7/2011, 2:00 pm

I loved that hoops post. I just wanted to add my version to it, since I did "hooping" in 4 x 4 boxes, and it worked equally well. Here is mine. See pic.
I just cris-crossed two PVC pipes in each box, sticking them into the corners of the box, which holds them well using natural tension of the bent pipe, and I used the cable ties to stabilize and hold the crossed pipes together at the top. I throw plastic over them in Spring, and bird netting in summer. I also tied netting to some of the hoops to help create canopy for shade loving plants down under. I let my musk melons grown onto that canopy and it extended my trellises this way very well. Works great.


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Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 3/7/2011, 7:39 pm

Glad you all got something out of it. It's not the last time you will see my HH flashed around here this season...I guah-rohn'-tee.

@Weedless, if I had 4x4's that is exactly what I would have done, too. But, placing 4x4's next to each other with 3 feet of space in between was the first thing I questioned Mel over (not that I talked to him personally). It just seemed like a waste of space since we can reach in from either side of a 4 foot wide box no matter how long it stretches. So, instead of wasting that 3 feet, I just went 12 feet long. But, that's just me.

I seriously suggest anyone youtube "hoop houses" and look at what some others have done, too. One guy has an all-PVC rig that has hoops with T-connectors on top that then go vertical into trellises. It's the most impressive thing I've seen, especially since his raised beds are about 3 feet deep, too. But, it looks beautiful!!

See y'all round.
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Post  Weedless_ on 3/7/2011, 9:27 pm

i actually agree about boxes versus rows in that respect. I went with boxes because I strategically covered sink holes on my front yard. It was just a pure luck that the holes were spaced perfectly Smile My next house, I will go with 3 x 12 rows
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