Monday, May 3, 2010

Building a Hoophouse

We attended our first CRAFT field day two weeks ago at Peasants Plot. It was an afternoon learning about hoophouses.

The farmers of Peasants Plot received a grant to put up their houses - I think it was a SARE grant. First we had a potluck lunch and then we helped put up a house. We were happy to see a few familiar faces from Farm Beginnings class and an old friend on whose farm we helped build a strawbale building several years ago. The Peasants Plot farmers are installing two houses for tomatoes - they are hoping to increase their productivity of tomatoes. In the past years, they have had good harvests of cherry tomatoes but due to their growing conditions, have had problems getting their tomatoes in the ground long enough to have large harvests of tomatoes. They would also like to beat the tomato glut at the market and get an edge on the tomato market.

Todd (one of the Peasants Plot farmers) had already prepped the soil and the site as well as the hard part of laying out the ground posts and putting the bows and trusses together. The attendees split into two groups - one raised the trusses and screwed them together and another group put more trusses together. The house that we worked on was 30 x 96. That is quite a large space. Their location is interesting - they are in north central Illinois - it is flat! And windy! They plan to remove their plastic for overwintering.

We look forward to following their progress - they have promised to keep everyone who helped up to date on how it is working for them and how it affects their tomato crop.

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