10 May Hoop House Construction 1 Layout
Here in southeastern Utah we have a lot of high winds, they start in March and they end in June sometime. And so it’s – it’s been my experience that you need to have something that’s fairly sturdy, but I kind of avoid those commercial high tunnels to a certain extent; I wanted to have a do-it-yourself type high tunnel. So this is a do-it-yourself high tunnel that I designed, and so over the next – over this winter – I’m going to put up another one that looks just like this one. I’ll put up a second high tunnel and I will video segments of that, so we’ll start off with the walls, and the T posts, and things like that.
Anyway this is what I’m doing here, and so I hope you enjoy and I hope you find that it’s very useful. The things you’ll need to set up your sidewalls is…well, of course you’ll need some T posts, and a post pounder. So what you’ll need for your side walls is T posts, of course, and they’re going to be placed three feet apart. So the way you determine how many you need is: you divide the length of your high tunnel – whichever, however long it’s going to be – and divide that by three. And in my case they’re ninety three feet long, so that’s ninety-three divided by three is thirty-one, I’ve got two sides so that’s sixty-two, and then I need a zero point on each end so that’s actually sixty- four T posts for the sides.
Now I’ll need four more T posts two on each end wall to support the end wall. So the way I just figure it out is you got ninety- three divided by three is thirty-one, times two – sixty-two – plus six, so the two end on the end of the side wall and then four for the for the end walls. So sixty- two, plus six…I needed sixty-eight T posts for my high tunnels. Now if yours are going to be shorter, then you don’t need as many T posts, but you’re placing them three feet apart so that you’ve got a rib every three feet.
So you’ve got your T posts, you’ve got your post pounder, you’ll need to have a couple of measuring tapes. One of them needs to be at least as long as your high tunnel is going to be so that you can measure every…every three feet and put your T posts in, another one for helping me get things set up. And then if you’re going to be checking your T posts to see if you need to grind them or whatever, a piece of PVC is always kind of handy to have around at some time. And then something to mark a straight line on your T posts. Now the way I’ve got these set up…I’ve already got one side… already set up all along there – I’ve got it straight set – and then I need to measure my width, which is seventeen and a half feet wide, and go down to the other end down there and I set my other T posts now.
Now to set up your high tunnel I use a six-foot steel T posts – five and a half foot works – you start getting beyond six and a half foot that might be a little bit too tall for your plastic, but six-foot works really well. And you want to set this up so it’s pretty square – doesn’t have to be exactly square but pretty square. So I set my post here – I’ve decided where I want it here – and then I’ve run a straight line down to the T posts on that end, and I set that one at the distance that I need it so it’s ninety- three feet apart there. Now to set the other T po- the other T posts, the other corners, if you’ve got some way to measure it that’s fine; you can do the math, the Pythagorean theorem or however you want to do that, but basically to square it up if you measure diagonals.
So if you measure from this T post to that one and then this corner to that corner over there, you measure those diagonals and when those diagonals equal you’re building square – as square as it’s going to get – but you get pretty close. Mine’s within a couple of inches on the diagonals so it’s it’s really quite close – close enough for what we’re doing here. So that’s kind of how you get it set up: run your line on the wall, and then determine where your opposing corner is going to be. One thing you want to pay attention to when you’re purchasing your T post is the actual size of the T post; I’ve got two different T posts here and one of them…your inch and 1/2 PVC slips over very easily, the other one does not.
So you want to maybe even take a piece of inch and a half PVC with you: check and see. If the PVC doesn’t fit over there you can always take a grinder and you can grind off the – usually right here on the backside of it, the back rib – and the front knobs on the front to get that to fit your your inch and a half PVC. But if you’ve got some of these little bit lighter duty T posts, they’re a lot easier to slip you-your PVC over. If you concerned about how plumb your T post is going to be you can get a level and check that – that’s actually pretty good.
Doesn’t have to be really plumb but you want to…might want to check if you’re not real comfortable about your ability to drive T posts straight so that’s a way to check, and make sure they check each one of them, and then we set our straight lines. To set up my straight lines I’ll have one up high and another one down low; these will be coming off the smooth side. I’ll have them come off the smooth side of the T posts and then when I line up my other T posts I’ll rub them up against…up against this backside here – smooth side – to the lines that way the knobs don’t get knocking them around. For this top line, just so that I don’t – make sure I – my post pounder doesn’t hit that line, I’ll put my post pounder on there and set it down an inch or so below that; that way as I go through and pound these down I won’t be hitting the line with my post pounder.
Now that I have my building squared up, and got my straight lines in here, and I’ve got my measuring tape, I can just come in…set the smooth side of the T post against the lines at three feet. So I’ll finish this up and we’ll have our side wall set. So when we get these set we’ll just be that much closer to having some fun in our garden.