Sunday, December 13, 2009

Winter Repairs

Frigid December Morning
Saturday morning was particularly frigid. Our lows reached down into the teens the night before and much of the snow we received earlier in the week was still on the ground. I was a bit apprehensive to look inside my mini hoop houses (which I hadn't done since last weekend) worried that my greens would be frozen solid and that my zone 6 winter garden would unceremoniously come to an abrupt end (I will discuss what I found in another post). Saturday's errand was to do some emergency repairs to the hoop houses before the next storm hits today.

buckled hoop
Three Gothic-style arches make up the back bone of my hoop houses. As you can see, the weight of the last snow storm had caused several of the arches to bundle and separate from the wood base to which they were strapped. I had to reattach them using longer screws.

reinforced hoop houses
Also, in an attempt to reinforce the structure, I screwed a half-inch piece of PVC conduit across the centers of all three metal frames. I had wanted to use metal conduit for this, but since the arches are not perfectly aligned, I needed something a bit more flexible. After I was done, the structure seemed much more rigid and stronger than it was before. The cross bar makes it much more difficult for the outer arches to cave inward under the wait of snow. I don't think I should have any more issues with this unless we get a lot more snow, in which case, I will be out there at all hours of the day brushing it off. I'm happy that I was able to get this done today.


  1. These small hoop houses are great for moving them from one bed to other, but on the other hand, they are not long-term solution.
    I hope they will hold until spring.

  2. I always construct things stronger than they actually need to be - just for reasons such as this. Yours should do much better now, and I hope your stuff made it through the sub-freezing temps.

  3. Looking forward to your post about how things fared inside those hoophouses! We too, got frigid temps Friday night and my garden was pathetic looking Saturday morning... I guess I just have to admit that it's over, and start looking forward to babying my seed flats!

  4. Love your hoop houses. Are they home built?

  5. I think cross supports are a really good idea. I hope they hold up for a long time now.

  6. Thomas, congratulations on getting it reconstructed.

  7. The top support should really do the trick. You may also want to add nuts & bolts on the brackets that hold the conduit to the wood frame. With the bolt head being on the exterior and the nut on the inside.

    About the trade, you can just send seeds to canada with stamps. It is about a dollar from canada-us and I think it is a little less from us-canada. I am working on a list of things I have available, I will send it along once it is complete. I was eying those red bunching onions from botanical interest & the minutina to if you still have some. Only a few of each, we can discuss it more when we have all our seeds in and organized.

  8. Hm, I agree with bolts in your future movable greenhouses and possibly diagonal bracing on the sides as the wind hitting the flat ends might still cause a ton or torsional pressure. I'm amazed at how well they have held up considering the winds we have been getting and certainly with the wet super heavy snow. As usual you have done great and this experiment will just make the next iteration better.

    Now, speaking of those rails, how would you seal the base edges from the wind and weather? ;-) can't wait to see your ingenious solutions!

    take care, Steve

  9. Beautiful moon picture.

    Thomas - would it be possible to send me your snail mail address?


  10. My name is Michael Torres I was browsing internet and found your blog. The author did a great job. I will subscribe to your RSS feeds. Thank you for your contribution. I am a web designer myself. And here some examples of the websites that I designed for payday loan payday loans canada company.

  11. I read your blog today for the first time and like your hoop houses that lift up! Do you have any construction plans or links?

    (who grew up in Hamilton, but now lives in Maine)