Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Rocky Start

The field was covered in frost when we awoke on Sunday morning, and it was beautiful. Yes it meant that we needed to wait a little bit before seeding winter rye in the field and it also meant that we needed work gloves in order to prevent sticking to the stainless steel piping that will eventually be the hoop house, but we were happy to be greeted by it anyway. It really was gorgeous.

Most of the day was spent trying to get the hoop house in order. (below is a picture of what the hoop house looked like when it arrived on the farm)We had to measure out the dimensions of the hoop house and set out the piping to be driven 24 inches into the ground before we started the long process of actually hammering the pipes in... and when I say long process, I mean that it took us the rest of the day to get 10 of the 14 pipes into the ground. This was because our soil is extremely rocky and we couldn't hit the piping with the sledge hammer directly for fear of warping the steel. We used 2x4's as a barrier between the piping and the hammer, but those kept splitting, then we used a hockey puck but that kept flying off of the pipes and eventually broke... there were other attempts, but in the end we just stuck with the splitting 2x4's.

Somehow in the process of hoophousing, Ben and I both ended up hurting our right index fingers doing completely different things. I mildly cut mine on the side of one of the steel pipes while trying to twist it into place, and Ben got his pretty good with a sledge hammer... after some jumping up and down and a quick sprint into the house, we were able to get him washed up and bandaged. Don't worry, he's okay. His finger is a little bloody and swollen, but we're pretty sure that's the extent of the damage... the moral of the story here kids, is don't put your hands anywhere near where you're about to hammer. It's likely to end in tears... and/or jumping up and down.

Ben decided to take a break from hammering and seed the winter rye after lunch . You can see him in the picture below bending down to refill his seeder with seeds...

At 4:00pm, 4 of the posts were part of the way into the ground, but were hitting a huge layer of rock that prevented them from going any further into the ground, so we gave up on those for the day and decided to screw together the arches instead. That way next weekend we can get the arches up and secured before framing the hoop house in with lumber and covering it in plastic.

So, what's the difference between a hoop house and a green house? Well, according to me, a greenhouse has a thermostat and a heating mechanism, and a hoop house is just an insulated structure without an added heat source. This particular hoop house will be used as a protective light environment for our seedlings to be started in. We might also grow some tomatoes in part of it. When it's all put together it will be 16ftx24ft and 8 ft tall... a sizable greenhouse indeed. We're really excited to get it up before there's snow on the ground!

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