The propagation room is coming along. I was able to get the last 6 fiber boards in place today. These fiber boards need to be taped to eliminate and leaks between the boards.
As you can see from this view, the boards are not completely fitted yet. I am going to have to make some cuts and adjust these boards properly. The 2×4’s are there to keep the boards from curling. I plan on getting this done completed this Saturday. I was able to get several 2×4 boards secured into the wall this week. You might ask why is it taking so long to build two simple walls, and that would be a great question. The answer would be, first of all I’ve been working part time 0500-1000 a.m.to help slow the burn rate of our saved funds that we are living on while off season. So I’m tired, pure and simple. I’ve been trying to get out to the farm as often as possible. Secondly, It has been very muddy on the farm. I had our excavator dump 25 tons of a material that he described as slag. It’s basically crushed stone and the powder associated with the rock. I rented a dingo and laid this material along where the access road are needed and a four foot wide path that leads to the garage door of the high tunnel. This greatly improves getting around on the property, and I’m no longer concerned with getting the truck or trailer stuck now. I really need another 25 tons delivered, but for now I need to remain focused on getting the propagation room completed in time for the hanging basket plugs to arrive in early February.
I bought a hoop bender back in December of last year. The intention of this hoop bender is to create my own hoops for 4 foot wide low tunnel raised beds. One of these beds is planned to run parallel of the high tunnel for the entire 60 feet of the high tunnel and four feet wide. In addition there are plans to have another pad dug just below the high tunnel. This pad will be one hundred twenty feet long, and hopefully I can get a minimum of 20 feet wide. This will allow for considerable growth as we need more growing space.
This pile of rock came from when the excavator dug our water line trench. As you can see this land is very rocky. This is one reason that we will be growing the majority of our plants in raised beds. So we are at a point now that these rocks need to be relocated. Initially my thoughts are that they will go behind the fire pit which you can see in the left side of the above image. The left side of the fire pit is where the hillside begins and the rock would make a good border along the grade change. It may also be a seating option for use of the fire pit. I am wanting to develop this space into at least one, possible two raised beds, then a grassy space with a fence along the entire frontage. So these are some of the short term projects that need to be addressed for the farm to be successful.
I am very happy to report that we are very close to completing the greenhouse frame build. This has been an ongoing project from August of this year. This was a very ambitious for the family to take on. None of us have any construction experience going into this, just a commitment to the end result, a functional greenhouse.
Gina and I decided to spend the night at the cabin Friday night into Saturday morning instead of getting up early to get to the farm by 08:00. It was a long night with the generator droning on all night in order to keep the heater on. We are also not accustomed to going outside in order to use the restroom in a brisk 41 degrees Fahrenheit. Morning came as it does every day and we would soon embark on the job at hand
So I started a fire in the pit because who doesn’t like a good fire on a crisp Saturday morning? Derek and Meredith arrived at 08:00 and after a quick bite to eat we all got started pulling greenhouse film over a 26 foot wide, 60 foot long steel frame which we have been working on for almost 4 months now.
We worked on the greenhouse all day from sun up to sun down making really good progress. The ladies made a run to Dry Ridge to get us all something for lunch, but other than that we worked non stop until about 4:30. Mer and Der had another engagement that evening and I needed to get a role of greenhouse tape that I had back at the house before the sun went down.
Just like us our greenhouse isn’t perfect. From the beginning I had concerns about the structure being in square, and I had concerns about getting the film attached to the structure. Now here we are and the structure isn’t perfectly square even though I probably measured each section at least six or seven time to ensure it was right. I had no idea if getting the film attached would be successful or not. There are so many things that could go wrong and this isn’t a one man job. God is good to us and the weather was perfect and family has come together even though we all have different things calling for our time to get this greenhouse built correctly. We have not cut any corners even though we were very tired and at times very hot working on this project. We have given all of our abilities to build this structure.
I have been told in the past that I can be tough. This isn’t always a bad thing to not except less than your best. I must say that all of the work has paid off and our greenhouse looks very nice. Best of all it was a labor of love and passion for family. This structure is key to the success of our family farm. This structure brought us all together in a time that families don’t have time for each other, or in some cases don’t like each other. We are a family, and we care about each other. This is our greenhouse and our farm. This is our story and my legacy I’m leaving for them.
So we were able to get the top on and the end with the drive through door on which was a lot of work. Derek and I were very tired at the end of the day. The other end will get attached next Saturday providing the weather is good.
This is the end that I will be working on this next Saturday. It isn’t going to be straightforward because I need to make places for vents and a place to run an exhaust pipe for a drum stove that I’m going to build. So there will be plywood on some sections of the end. I want our greenhouse to look professional so I am planning this out now.
Gina and I took a drive out to the farm today to check on things. I was quite pleased to find that it is bone dry now. So the plan is to spend some time each day getting to wiggle wire bases attached to the frame. Most of the bases have been attached, what’s left is mostly at the peak of the greenhouse frame so I will have to use the scaffolding to reach these points. The temperature is forecasted to rebound at the end of the week to the upper 60’s and lower 70’s. This may be our last chance to finish up and get the greenhouse film attached under favorable weather conditions. So we need to make the most of this weekend for sure!
It has been a long time in coming, but the greenhouse frame is complete. The damaged hoop replacement finally arrived last Thursday and I was able to bolt it all together and tie in the purlins. Yesterday (Tuesday October 13th) I went to the farm to connect the end wall that I prefabricated to find that the wind storm we had on Monday had knocked it over along with the scaffolding that was helping to hold it in place… at least I thought it would hold it. This was frustrating, but I was able to piece it all back together and connect it to the main structure.
This is what I’m referring to as the rear entrance. I intentionally spaced the entrance door to the left of the frame. I did this to gain maximum use of the rear wall space. If I would position it in the middle of the house, which is somewhat traditional spacing, then I would have to work around the door. This is my plan for the greenhouse.
As you can see in the top left corner is the entrance door. With this positioning I am able to have a wood burning stove and two 4’x8′ potting benches along the rear wall. If the door was positioned in the center this wouldn’t be possible.
This was my problem child, the end frame that I found on the ground. When deciding what to do with this end of the house, I wanted to allow full access to the inside of the house. So I pulled my truck into the house so I could determine how wide and how tall I might want the entrance to be. What I decided to do was create a door 9’2″ wide, and 7′-2″ tall. This size would allow me to pull a truck or my tractor inside of the greenhouse. This can be quite helpful when moving plants. It also allows for ventilation in the Summer when the house would get quite hot. This is my current plan for that end of the house.
As you can see I have a wide opening on this end of the house which will allow for good access inside the house. The main crop on this side of the house will be vegetables and herbs. So this large opening will allow for easy access to be able to load product ready for market.
So what’s next?
I am quite aware that the weather is changing quickly, and if we don’t get the film on soon we may not be able to do so until next Spring. This would be quite disastrous considering our order for hanging basket plants, and bedding plants have been ordered and are scheduled to arrive starting in late January. So with this said, getting the side boards and the wiggle worm bases installed is a priority. We really need to get the film installed on November 1st. This is our goal to be under film by November 1st.
I was able to get out to the farm after selling at the Boone County Farmers Market today. Right now the priority is getting the greenhouse ends built. I was able to get half of one end build, the angle brackets for the rest of the vertical braces mounted, and the vertical drilled. The next visit I should be able to get the rest of the end frame completed.
The replacement hoop has been shipped and is expected to arrive on October 6th. So there is finally signs of completion in sight which is feeling really good. I have been nervous about this build from the beginning. The completion of this greenhouse is key to the success of the farm, it’s that important!
There has been several projects on the farm needing to be completed. The water line installation is finally complete, all of the rain we have had along with demands of the landscape business have caused this project to drag out too long. I am glad that water installation is behind us. Now all focus is on getting the greenhouse completed. I was able to break away from the landscape work and head to the farm today.
I’m going to guess that this isn’t an OSHA approved method to complete our project! The peak of the greenhouse comes in at about 12 feet, so this is the most efficient and effective means to get the top purlins connected. I have found that the tubes that were shipped to us wasn’t drilled out completely. I have had to use a punch to help line up the holes and a hammer to tap them through the holes. Needless to say this doesn’t help the threads too much, but we are making it work. The other option would be to drill the holes out so the bolts can pass through the holes properly. This seems like a lot more work considering that not all of the holes are undersized.
As you can see I was able to get quite a bit completed in about three house. I have been keeping in the back of my mind that the cold weather and strong winds of Fall will be upon us soon. So this project must be completed soon. The film for this greenhouse is 75 feet long and 50 feet wide. To successfully cover this house we need a day with winds less than 2 MPH, and it would be nice to have at least some sun to cause the film to expand so that when it is fastened onto the house it will contract as the weather cools and create a tight fit over winter.
So the plan is to finish up mowing tomorrow and then head back out to the farm to finish the last of the purlins, then possibly get the end wall built on this side of the greenhouse. Unfortunately a few of the poles were damaged in transit, so we are waiting for replacements to be fabricated and shipped to us. I would like to have the film on the house by the week of October 4th. In the mean time while we wait for the replacements we can get the baseboards on, and the wiggleworm bases attached. That was all that is left is to build the last end wall and attach the film. I will feel so much better once the film is successfully attached.
Well at least we have happy frogs right now. This is the current state of this water line trench. With the constant rain this trench keeps filling up with water. I was hoping that it would drain naturally and then I could back fill the sand and soil. With this new weather pattern we are in we keep getting rain every day or two. Looks like on a dry day I will have to pump it out to be able to fill it in. This is the last section of the trench that needs to be back filled then the water line project is 100% complete! The next project is the greenhouse build which is scheduled for this Saturday. Once the greenhouse structure is built and covered with film we will actually have a functioning farm! This is pretty exciting to get the greenhouse filled with all of our nursery stock, then Mid Winter get seed trays started for Spring sales! There is a lot to get done and the cold weather isn’t too far off now.