Hoop House Designs

Hoop Houses promise to extend the season and make possible what is out of reach. They are not without limitations but their benefits make them a sound investment of money, time, and space. The following is what we use at Heartiness Farm aka Wilson Family Farm.

 Determine your required dimensions.  Material selection and quantity depends on your layout needs. Our growing area is odd shaped and not ideal in size or orientation. We are running our hoop houses East to West because we believe that orientation fits best within the growing area, allows prevailing winds to blow through the open hoop during hot days, and follows what we have already established for the growing beds. They will be 60 feet long where possible and approximately __ feet wide. The length stems from the size and layout of the gardening area. The width is a result of using 3 sections of 10 foot EMT bent for a sloped roof. This permits us to have 5 30" beds with 8 inch walkways on each side of the hoop house and 12 inch walkways between each bed.
How to Build a Hoophouse, Part 2 (Bending the Hoops)
 We use 3/4 inch 10 foot EMT for the hoops and bend the 2 side EMT poles 30 degrees at 36" and the middle EMT 30 degrees at 58 ". We searched for correct bend point instructions but found nothing to help with the specific bend we are doing. Because we want the bend in the middle and some length is lost when bending we are approximating based on a 90 degree bend. We will be close but all will be the same and thus symmetrical. We are using EMT connectors to fasten the hoop pieces together.  Our 60' hoop will require 16 hoops as expressed in the formula  length / distance between ribs + 1 (60'/4' + 1).
How to Build a Hoophouse Part 3 (standing the hoops, attaching the ropes)
 We are using rebar, pounded into the ground, for holding the pipes in place. Each rib will be 4 feet on center from each other. They are placed in a straight line by stretching a string between the fits and last rib position. The opposite side is done in the same manner after squaring the corners. In the absence of appropriate squaring devices I measure between each diagonal corner to ensure they are equal. Once all the rebar is pounded in then the pipes can be inserted over them.
How to Build a Hoophouse, Part 4 (attaching the plastic to the hoops)
How to Build a Hoophouse, Part 5 (end walls, costs, resources)

Homesteaders young and old

rhendaswingingwith chickensI follow many wonderful websites and blogs for homesteaders. I love homesteaders. All of the people I follow are young and working so hard to have their family live a healthy life. I am not as young in age but I feel like one with them. I talk to many people my age who have already raised the animals, planted the gardens and have moved on to an easier life. That is great for them. I want to live to the end of my life being able to go to my garden and get fresh grown food to eat. I want to eat meat that I know where it is grown and how it was grown and what it was fed. I want a chance to live a long healthy life. So while I may not be the young age the homesteaders are that I follow, I am young at heart, young in spirit and excited to grow my homestead with my husband. I want our homestead to be a marvelous, and yes, I know it is intensive work but oh so rewarding. 
We have 12 hens that are Delaware chickens. They are large, very docile, good egg layers. We have beautiful orange-yolked eggs. We have 40 Freedom Ranger broilers ordered and will receive them on October 5th. We are making their brooder and will put pictures on soon. We will be raising pasture raised chickens for income starting at that time but will be raising 150 at a time starting in February 2017. We will raise seven batches of 150. We will take the summer off because it is too hot for them and the grass is too dry. We attended a workshop sponsored by APPPA which is a pastured poultry association. We were in information overload when we finished and we were surprised our chickens were even alive considering the things we have done wrong. But we are excited to take on this new venture. We will also increase our egg layer flock to be able to sell eggs. 
We have a garden that has only been two 4 x 40 raised beds. It was a very productive garden and we learned so much that we will change for next year. We are expanding our garden to be 12 rows that will be 3 feet by 60 feet plus a hoop house of 20 foot x 40 foot. We grow everything without GMO and without pesticides or non-organic fertilizers. We look forward to this endeavor. We met great people who will help us out with their knowledge and experience. 

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