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What’s growing this week: April 28-May 4

Ragtime Ranch Family Farm is almost open for business! We are busy growing more and more veggies every week, and we are sharing them with family and friends while we gear up for selling at the local Farmers Market.

This week, we are harvesting sunflower micro greens (so tasty in salads and sandwiches), baby kale, baby mustard greens, and colorful lettuce mixes. We also have a limited supply of eggs.

Coming soon – snap peas and our first blackberries!

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The Greenhouse

At Growing Power we learned how to build a hoop house. In fact we actually helped to actually build it. Armed with that experience we decided it was time to build our own hoop house. Our hoop house is similar to the one we built at GrowingPower, but quite a bit taller. The dimensions are 20′ wide by 50′ long.

Materials

We decided to use a materials list pretty similar to the one used at GrowingPower. The side walls are constructed of 1 5/8″ chain link line posts, and the hoops are 1 3/8″ chain link tubes. The sides will be screen, and the covering will be shade cloth in the summer and plastic in the winter.

Frame Strength

The advantage of using chain link materials is that they are inexpensive, easy to acquire, and easy to work with. On the other hand, I wish the posts and hoops were a little more rigid. I hope to compensate with extra purlins (long braces run the length of the hoop house, tying the hoops together lengthwise), diagonal braces, and strong end walls. Side wall posts are placed at 5′ intervals. Because of our location we get some pretty strong sustained winds for much of the year. If we were building a larger greenhouse I would not consider using these materials – I would opt for much more rigid materials. However I think they’ll work – we shall see.

The Bending Jig

We built our own bending jig to bend the hoops. This jig was exactly like the one that was demonstrated at GrowingPower. It’s built by drawing an arc on a sheet of plywood, and then attaching blocks of wood on the line of the arc, and finally attaching two sheets of lath to the edge of the blocks to create a smooth curved surface on which to bend the hoops. The radius of the jig is slightly smaller than the actual radius of the hoops. This particular jig bends the pipes just right for a 20′ wide structure.IMG_3686 Continue reading The Greenhouse