High Tunnel Grower Support
Want help growing in your Nifty hoop?
Nifty Hoops can help. We have experience growing year-round in hoophouses. Let's talk!
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High tunnels need love too.
Layout and Groundposts
Use these techniques to perform fast and accurate layout for any hoophouse. Many tape measures makes for quick and easy work. And the process demonstrated here lets you slope the hoophouse to the prevailing grade with the use of a laser level.
Wood baseboards seal the hoophouse to the ground and tie all of the ground posts together before bows are stood. Baseboards ideally sit close to the surface, or into the ground a few inches. The grade can then be adjusted to slope waters away from the hoophouse.
Bows and Endwalls
Nifty Hoops bows are predrilled for all attachment points. Simply lay out the parts for minimal movement during assembly and bolt together each connection. Every bow goes together exactly the same for precise construction. End wall steel is also precut to precise measurements that frame up for door and ventilation openings.
Standing Bows and Endwalls
Once assembled, bows and the 2 end walls are easy to stand with 2 people, prior to connecting with purlins and hipboards.
Hipboards are used to attach the poly cover to the hoophouse along its length. We use heavy aluminum extrusions that add structural integrity and have 2 channels for attaching separate top poly and side curtains. Aluminum cam locks are used to lock the top poly. We prefer wiggle wire for the side curtains.
Three runs of purlins in addition to the hipboards connect from bow to bow and turn the hoophouse into a parallelogram. We attach 4' long side purlins from bow to bow and then 12' long purlins at the top of the hoophouse.
Wind bracing is comprised of diagonal framing members that lock the hoophouse into a plumb position. We use three braces in each corner of the hoophouse, attached to the bows with brace bands. When the hoophouse is installed on a site that slopes from end to end, you can compromise between dead plumb and perpendicular to the grade.
Nifty Hoops uses separate side curtains that roll up to ventilate the hoophouse. The curtains are made of durable woven poly material and have a sewn pocket in the bottom for easy and secure installation of galvanized tubes (roll bars) that they roll up on.
Rolling up the Side Curtains
A 1.315" galvanized tube (roll bar) is inserted into the side curtain and attached to a geared, self braking crank that raises and lowers the ventilating side curtain. Additional hardware (roll bar cradles and wind rope clips) are added to attach a light rope that prevents the side curtain from being blown by the wind.
Covering the End Walls
Nifty Hoops fabricates woven poly panels that cover the end wall of the hoophouse. The covers are durable modular for easy replacement any time damage does occur. 2" wide velcro closures secure an 8'x8' equipment opening at each end of the hoophouse.
We go over the basics of installing 1" PVC conduit that ties the cross braces together and provides for wiring of the louver vents and any other electrical equipment that the grower might add, like fans and work lights.
Nifty Hoops has developed a simple and inexpensive low voltage louver system for ventilating at the peaks of the end walls. This automated ventilation is paramount for maintaining optimal temperatures in the hoophouse throughout the growing season.
Pulling Poly Top Cover
Nifty Hoops installs two layers of top poly cover on our 30’ wide structures. We have found that this not only insulates the house from coldest temperatures but by being inflated, the poly holds up better to wind and snow loads. We pull the two layers across the hoophouse together and secure with wiggle wire and aluminum cam locks.
Locking the Poly
There are many techniques for attaching the poly cover. We find that if you work to get it snug as you go along, you don't end up getting big wrinkles and other difficulties. The inflation of the two layers of film snugs up the finished install allowing for varying amounts of tightness.
We go over the installation of miscellaneous hoophouse features like the additional diagonal bracing in the end wall, a hinged door for easy year round access, inflation fan, and an air jumper we add to better inflate the poly evenly on both sides of the house.
Nifty Hoops offers a few optional features that are commonly requested by hoophouse growers. These include overhead and drip irrigation systems, row covers, and solar power for off-grid installations. Additional optional features not covered in this video are automated/motorized roll-up side curtains and our manual roll up end wall design.