Friday, March 19, 2010

Another sunny day today.

I went to Lowe's last night with my sister (who is visiting from CA this week) to check out the  PVC they have and to get a bead on the prices.  They were what i expected.  Which is good.  Only change to the plans (so far) is that i found out that the 3/4" schedule 40 will not accept the 1/2" sched 40. It isn't a lrge enough interior diameter-- but the 3/4" pressure pipe is. But the pressure pipe is rather thin walled, and 10 feet of  1/2" sched 40 does not bend to 2-3' wide very easily, i don't know if  the  pressure pipe will split due to the tension.

Any excuse to draw:
I have a feeling that the hoop will not arch as pretty and nice as that, i think the uprights will bow so i get more of a half-oval (no straight sides), and the inside edges of the uprights will create pressure on the inside top and the outside bottom of the socket pieces.  But i am not knowledgeable enough to calculate these things.

So i'm going to get hubby to go to Lowe's with me and make sure it is going to work. He is sure it will, but since he will likely feel the need to rescue me in this project if   i flub it, i'm going to try and reduce the level of rescuing needed as much as i can.
He needs to get himself some PVC so he can do some ground wire burying for his radio antennas,  so we will make an evening of it.  I am also going to print off Home Depot's price on the pipe and see if Lowe's will price-match for me.  If they do, the savings might cover the sales tax.

Another thing i was thinking about... if the pressure of the hoops on the anchors will be enough to hold the hoops down if we get wind. If not, i essentially will have made a giant, white, Chinese Dragon kite...  So, i will have to make sure the Agribon is pinned down with heavy things like bricks or we will have to drill holes through the hoops and the sockets and pin them together with some stiff wire (think cotter pin)...adding another step.

Now this is beginning to sound really complicated, but i'm reminding myself that we only have to engineer it once. If it works, it will work the same way for the next number of years. If it does not work, there are a number of ways to fix it.
One of which is to simply cut the 10' 1/2" pipes down to 5' and just do it like the majority of people i have seen online-- shorter hoops, but simpler structure.

Why do i want the hoops to be so tall?
Because we have such a short growing season that i want the plants to be inside the hoops, under cover, in the warmer and more stabilized climate of the hoop houses for as long as possible. I also need long term pest control,  i hope to only need to completely uncover the rows once or twice a week in order to allow things to get pollinated. There are also cats in the neighborhood who have uprooted my plants before in using my smaller garden as a litter box.
Also,  snow cover,  if i leave some of my root crops in the ground, the taller hoops will be less likely (i hope) to get buried in the snow. I am hoping the taller walls will distribute more snow weight more evenly across the structure. ( I also plan to get a more sturdy Agribon material for winter use on the few hoops that will be used all winter.)

Do i think the hoop houses will do all these things?

Won't know unless i try, but from what i have been studying, there is a good chance they will do it, or they will at least help a good deal.

I need to start getting  the companion herb seeds going. I bought a 3-pack of flats with domes that have the dreaded 6-pack seedling compartments.  I dislike the 6-packs, i have the worst time filling them evenly and i don't like the crinkly sound they make, but they were fairly cheap and i needed more.I guess i will see if i can cope this time!

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