Hoops Built with Electrical Conduit Pipes

Courtesy of Brenda S., Thompson Street Farm, Glastonbury CT

Electrical conduit pipes work great for hoops. That’s all we use on our beds, and they survived Connecticut’s “Big Snow” last year. We used metal brackets and bolted them to the outside of bed and then used zip ties to hold the cross pipes together. Worked like a charm. They can also be pushed into the ground if you don’t have boxed beds.

We found the pipes at our local Home Depot for 0.95 each for 3/4 inch pipes – which is cheaper and more flexible than PVC pipes. The electrical conduit pipes are grey in color and in the same isle as the zip ties. At least that’s where they are in our store. The other place I’ve found them is in the plumbing aisle with the rest of the PVC pipes. Just remember you want the grey pipes not white.

Greenhouse Construction

Courtesy of Brenda S., Thompson Street Farm, Glastonbury CT
*We built our 14 x 24 greenhouse last year and here are some books that helped us. Because of my  husband’s limited knowledge and experience in building structures, we needed a very simple design. I ended up buying the basic frame kit without all the bells and whistles from Farm Tek (www.farmtek.com). I think the total cost was around $1,000, which included the plastic and hardware. Could we have done it cheaper? Probably but  again, my husband was unsure of his skills. In addition to the kit, I also
researched books and designs and found some books that were helpful.

Books I recommend:

• The Winter Harvest and The Four Season Harvest – Eliot Coleman. He lacks some of the details we needed to construct a greenhouse. Having said that, I loved his idea of using plastic electrical conduit pipes for quick hoops and it works well. These are different from the white PVC pipes they are grey in color and very flexible. We found ¾ inch pipes worked well. Eliot recommends ½ inch to ¾ inch pipes depending on what you are using them for. They’re cheap and hold up well in Connecticut winters. I paid 0.95 per pipe at Home Depot.

• The Polytunnel Handbook by Andy McKee & Mark Gatter. They are from the UK and have great ideas for greenhouse layout and making quick doors.

• The Hoophouse Handbook: Growing Produce and Flowers in Hoophouses and High Tunnels by Lynn Byczynski. This book is not long. I liked the drawings on the construction and we were able to adapt somethings to our project.

Between these resources, and what I found online, we constructed a beautiful green house that survived the big snow of 2010. Now I hope it survives Hurricane Irene this weekend. Yikes!