An Early Start


| 2/20/2012 12:01:51 PM


Tags: Greenhouse, hoop house, seed starting, Eric Slatt,

Eric head shotI have learned over the course of the last three years that there is a vast difference between having a casual hobby garden and growing food to help your family become self-sufficient and produce income for the farm. All through my childhood, when the weather started warming up, my dad would start looking at seed catalogs; we tilled the garden and got everything ready for warm weather.  When the weather finally warmed up and stayed warm, that’s when we started planting and weeding.  It was time to “play” in the garden.

It’s a little different when you are growing to feed your family and others.  At least it is for me, anyway.  I find myself thinking about the spring plants when most people are shutting down their gardens for the winter.  With the usually mild winters here in South Carolina, we can grow three gardens a year, spring/summer, fall, and winter.  It means a constant rotation of planting, seed starting, and the like.

Here on the farm, we started the seeds for many of our herbs and vegetables during the first week of January.  I know that you are thinking that it is way too early to start plants, even in South Carolina!  But I have learned a few things along the way.  Last year we started using low tunnels to cover crops that we planted, and actually had good success with it.  This year, we finally got to add our first greenhouse to the operation. 

Hoop assembly for greenhouse 

It was made of simple construction with ¾” PVC, 6 mil plastic, and a wooden frame.  The treated wood frame was secured to the ground with posts set 3 feet deep. We gave the hoop frame more strength by placing a 10 foot piece of ½ metal conduit piping inside the top piece of the PVC assembly. 

The hoops were attached to the wooden frame with metal conduit brackets  The end hoops were attached to the base with treated 2x4s and conduit brackets.  It took two of us to install the hoops to the frame, and it went nice and quick. 

Eric Slatt
2/27/2012 9:33:42 PM

Pamela, I'm not sure what the winds are like in your area. I know that I haven't had any problems with winds hurting it so far. In the past week we've had 2 storms that has wind gusts of 25+ mph and no damage to the greenhouse. It is protected on two sides by woods that are around 40 feet from it.


Eric Slatt
2/27/2012 9:31:35 PM

The dimensions are 12 foot by 14 foot. and it uses 10' sections of PVC pipe.


Eric Slatt
2/27/2012 9:24:03 PM

The pvc pipes are 10 foot lengths and 3/4" in diameter.





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