Hoop House Construction, Part 3 of 3: Site Selection and Preparation, Hoop House Installation


Okay. Site orientation. Obviously you want some place that has plenty
of ventilation, because that’s how you cool the house. You want pollination, again, for your tomatoes
and peppers. In Oklahoma, if we had a preferred way to
do it, we would run them north and south. That way we get a little bit better light
distribution. We have enough light here though, guys, that
you can run them any direction and you can be successful. Alright? When you get farther north, most of the growers
like to run them east and west. If you are little bit cramped for space, you
got … you need more ventilation, you might want to think about running the houses east
and west And just so the south wind will blow through
them easier, if you have limited flow. Again, if you’ve got them on top of a hill
or out in an exposed field it doesn’t matter. Not in Oklahoma. At least where we are here – further west Okay, but when you get around some windbreaks
— shelter belts — you can have some issues with wind flow. But, I like this direction for the light. Even distribution of light from morning to
evening when you run your rows parallel with the direction of the house. Okay, and then when you… when you look at
your site you want to get rid of all your perennial weeds. That means you might have to use some herbicide. Johnson grass, bermudagrass, you’re better
off dealing with that ahead of time. If you want to certified organic, you know,
you just going to have to wait three years . Otherwise, figure out some other way to do
it. There are some ways, but the idea is to take
care the problems to start with and not have to deal with them. Enjoy growing and not keep
fighting weeds. Okay, uh, also, a pad. If it’s a permanent structure, I like to
put mine on a little bit of a rise so that water goes around the structure and not through
it. I’ve seen too many houses that, after a
rain, the water just comes right down the rows, right down the aisles, you know, and
you’re wading in mud. It’s ridiculous. Now, with a movable structure you might not
have the option for that. And, do they have to be level? I used to be
big stickler on this. As long as it is uniform it can be sloped
a little bit, but it needs to be uniformly sloped. One side doesn’t need to be sloped more
than the other. Otherwise, your structure’s not going go
together square. It’s going to look like somebody has got a
severe alcohol problem, you know, when you drive by it Alright, now, the perimeter layout. You can take shortcuts, but if you don’t know
what you’re doing, and especially if you building a permanent house, you’re going to
have a skewed structure And so I like to do it. I like to just make
sure. I tell you how to do it professionally. If
you want to skip steps, that’s your business. But if you do it, it’s going to be guaranteed
to be straight, and it’s going to be guaranteed to be square, and it’s going to be level. Okay, ground post installation. You want some kind of a cap — something to
absorb the energy — a driver that you can put in those posts and pound them down. Now you can put them on the inside or outside
of that line depending on what the instructions say. I usually go outside the line, that way it’s
a true like a 14-foot inside to inside. But, it just depends. It’s not going to make any difference for
most of these homemade structures, or that you’re building yourself. Uh, use a template to keep them uniformly
spaced — your ground posts – without having to use a ruler or a measuring tape. Leon showed me how to use this little driver
extension. You just stand up and pound that baby. This stuff gets old after you bend over all
day pounding, using a sledgehammer. Let the post do it. Here’s another extension with a ground post
driver, or a T-post driver, and then Leon’s got his little hydraulic job there. Now if you’re getting in the business and
doing it professionally, that’s what you want to use, right there. Okay, sometimes you can’t drive posts in rocky
ground, so go ahead and auger them out. You can use the tractor or a handheld one. This is that one thing you can do — you can
you can either drive… to hold it in the concrete, you put a bolt through that or you
can kink the end of the pipe to where it doesn’t slide out of the concrete easily. Another tip — if you’ll take that post
and drive it down in the hole, drive it into the ground three or four inches where it stands
up on its own, you can put the level on it. That way when you put your concrete around
there, you don’t have to hold it while you’re doing it. I really like that. When I’m building my end wall, I take a hoop
and stick it up, especially if I’m making my — if they’re custom-made structural
supports, doorposts — just to make sure that they come together. Okay, I put my post, my, excuse me, my hoop
in place and I put my post up there and then I mark on them where I need to cut them. And I’ll usually use a level to make sure
that they’re straight, they’re plumb. And then, of course, do what you have to keep
them straight if it’s windy. This is a simple way to do it. We just notch them so the hoop will sit right
in that notch and we use a lag bolt to attach it Here’s another way to do it. Take your post
— in this particular case, it’s steel. We just welded a saddle on that and then we’ve
attached the perlin all in one little deal there with one little bolt. Pretty slick. Here’s another one that’s a little angle
that’s welded onto the upright of the post and the tek screws hold the end hoop together. Okay, as far as your cross members – you
need those to provide you surface area to attach your panel or your plastic. I like the angles and tek screws. You can use the little saddle there for your
two by fours. Both of them work great. That will sure stiffen up to the end wall. When you’re putting your hoops together,
go ahead – these multiple hoops – put them on a level surface. Otherwise, the thing is going to be corkscrewed
when you set them up. They need to be straight. You can use a sleeve to join the pieces together,
in this particular case, or they’ll just go, you know, if it’s swage pipe male and a
female end — your ground posts – some of them will come with, this is a Farm Tech structure,
will come with the holes already in it, so they match the holes in the hoop. If they’re out of line, just take you a
wrench and line them up. If you’re in concrete, you can’t turn them,
can you? So you just drill you another hole and get
on with it. One way to attach the hoop to the ground post. I always draw a piece of, a … Take a Marks-A-Lot or a Sharpie and I know
exactly what level to put my hoop And I take, uh, if I’m wanting to put my hoop
board together I’ll just use one bolt to out it all together and just use clamp like
that to hold everything in place. That’s just one option. If you’re using these saddles, pipe hangers,
that works great, also. You wouldn’t necessarily need these tek
screws for the wood, but you get the concept. You put a tek screw in the saddle to hold
it to the hoop, or to the ground post, in this case. On the end is easy, just wood screws in this
particular case with the wood columns. And then you see how it butts up there on
the bottom right. Okay, all kinds of techniques, uh, materials
you can use to attach your timber together, whether it be a baseboard, a hip board. Your perlins: this swage pipe – one down
the middle is the absolute minimum. You’ve got to have one. This particular house has three, which the
two on the side are really kind of a hip board, except they’re pipe. This is an el cheapo way of doing it – not
the best. It’s not near as strong. Saddles are expensive – very strong. This is definitely the quickest way to do
it. Okay? Hip boards – again, how you tie them together
– this is just a piece of similar-sized lumber to tie them together, make it strong. Don’t underdo that as far as length. Your hip board, if it’s pipe, if you’re
using one of these caterpillar, Spanish tunnels, you want to put it on the inside so when the
plastic is closed up it’s not going to catch water. The one on the bottom left picture is on the
outside, that would be more for a roll-up side, the square tubing on the outside, the other
one is on the inside It just depends on how you’re going to function
– how the side wall ventilation is going to function on these houses. And then, you can’t put enough bracing on
these things, oh my, in Oklahoma The more hoops you can tie together, the better
off you are. Make sense? It just adds strength upon strength upon strength. I also like to tie, if I’ve got some, uh,
if I have columns in the ground, go ahead and put some extra bracing up there to your
hoops. Tie many as you can together. I think it really
pays off in our weather. As far as ice and snow, we don’t get a whole
lot of that here, but that’s one storm we had. Okay, how you attach the poly film? You can use the wiggle wire base – this
is on the hip board. And then there’s the lath. I use both of them on the end hoop. I use the wiggle wire base on the ends. On
the sides, I will usually use lath. This is another end attachment where I just
attached the header board there to the frame. That’s another way up lapping it over and
attaching it to the end of the house. Okay, here’s … we’re laying out the film.
Right? We’re getting ready put it on. We just like to unroll it completely – the
length of it. And then we’re going to tie a little knot
in it. Or we’re going to put a tennis ball in there – something that we can wrap that
rope around. And then we’re going to throw … attach a
little bottle to it and throw it over the top, right? That’s just one way of doing it. We’re going to do this every 12, 16 feet or
so – if we have the help. And, of course, we’re going to do it on a
calm day, right? And so, get everybody in place, throw it over.
I like to do it this way. And make sure all your snags are covered up. I use duct tape. You can use Gorilla Tape. You file them down, cut them off. Do whatever. You don’t want anything to catch this poly,
you’ll rip it. Okay, we’re going throw it over the top
and we’re going to first attach it … I like to attach my end walls. I attach one
to the end wall and then I go to the other side and stretch it vertically and attach
it. Then I’ll start on the sides. I can either
start in the middle and go both ways, or I can start at one end and go to the other. You’re probably going to, on a warm day,
you’re going to have to take one of the sections off, the wiggle wire off one end
to stretch it again if it’s warm, because it will get a little loose. Especially if it’s a permanent house with
the roll-up wall where you have no rope over the top, you’ll probably want to re-stretch
it. Okay, this is what I really like for my sides,
I can save a little money. I stretch that poly down and I stick another
piece of lath up against that first permanent piece and that locks that sucker in place. Now, the only issue here, if you start drilling
that too quick, you’ll pop that … it will just break quicker than, you know, God got
the news. So, I like to pre-drill those holes, little
four-foot sections of lath. I’ll insert my screw into that. I’ll stick it up there and it’s ready
to go – I don’t have to hold it and try to put my screw in there – and just go right
on and get it done. Okay, here’s another way to attach poly to
the end of these small houses: just take you a golf ball or one of these
fake golf balls, wrap the plastic around it, take you some that ball bungie and attach
it to hooks on your end wall. That is slick, slick, slick. That’s best
thing I’ve ever come up with for a quick way to get that on an off these caterpillar houses
– small-scale. Okay, caterpillar. We’ve got different kind
of rope, material, to hold that poly down. Nylon is what most people use – very expensive. It just won’t break down in the sun as easy
as some of that cheaper stuff. It’s nylon, though. Okay, now there are some other materials,
this electrical pull tape. That’s what some growers are using successfully. It’s flat, it’s woven, it’s braided, it’s
super strong and I have people swear by that. I haven’t used it myself. On the right is the heavy duty bailing twine. We recommended that for a while. You still
can use it. It’s a little abrasive to the plastic, so just keep that in mind. How do you hook the rope to the base of the
house? You can use these eyebolts. You can weld a little loop on there. But put
your rope through there and go all the way to the other side. If you have one continuous loop or you can
have, like in this situation, we have one section that we center it and we tie it off,
throw both ends over the house. We have another section on the other side.
We come up. We put a loop on one end and then we draw the other string through it and tie
a half-hitch. That way we can suck that down real tight
and, if it gets loose, we can undo it real quick and tie it back. That is THE way to go. There’s various permutations and alterations
on this type of technique but it all is similar. Okay, it gives you the option of adjusting
the tension on that plastic and keeping it from flopping and blowing away. Roll-up side curtain: but this is just your
classic roll-up vent. I like to use a piece of poly. This is just
poly pipe – I just cut sections out of it and wrap it around when I put my poly on to
get it set and I try to make sure it rolls up uniformly. And then I’ll come back, either put a set-screw
in it like it is there or put these on aluminum clips on it and then that doesn’t come off. You’ve got to take a screwdriver pry that
baby off. There are the plastic ones that you can buy. You just need to take your time and make sure
that they roll up straight. Okay? And then if you roll them up, it ought to
be, the water ought to shed on the outside. If you roll up them up clock… well, it depends
on where your roll-up handle is, but you can roll them up where it will tend to gather
water and it will gather algae and mold quicker. You want it to shed off of, away from the
plastic not down into the reel. It works either way, just one of them is going
to get dirtier than the other. Okay, hold it open with a rod. We used this
for many years. This is a neat technique that one of our cooperators
is using and look at that. Isn’t that slick? You know, he uses it … it goes back on itself.
He runs that rod through there. He just pulls it out and then lets it go down
and then sets it back to the elevation he wants. Pretty neat. I like that. That’s the slickest
roll-up panel that I’ve seen. When you vent these caterpillar tunnels, guys,
boy, the water can catch in those. You need to put that plastic… wrap back
up underneath it on a heavy storm. If it’s not, if it’s not designed properly and
it has got too many creases in it, its going to gather water. Okay, I use poly pipe. You can use strapping,
something to hold these vents in place, keep them from flapping out in the wind. You can secure them on the ends in the wintertime
if you want do that. Then they’re not going to go anywhere that way. You can put the … some type of a cover over
that between the first two hoops on the inside and your vent, your curtain, goes on the outside.
And that keeps that air from infiltrating – especially in the wintertime – as easy. I use windbreaks. Weave them between the hoops
and I secure them on the ends. I really like that. How high does that have to be? Three feet,
four feet is fine for the spring. You don’t have to have them come all the way to the
top of your hip board unless you want to try to keep the insects out. Okay? Then you’re welcome to do that. Okay, and this is another concept on that.
It’s an apron to keep that cold wind off the plants when you’re in the spring. Okay. Boom. I’m done. That was fast.

4 thoughts on “Hoop House Construction, Part 3 of 3: Site Selection and Preparation, Hoop House Installation

  1. Thank You;  I have Pro, and homeowner greenhouses.  This confirmed some of my ideas, and you gave me a few more.  Roegr BoneaupepperFarmLLC

  2. I need a couple of these houses to grow tomatos all year in texas I also need some shade cloth to put on top where can I get to best quality of materal? I would like to move these houses

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