New Skin for a Hoop House

On Sunday, May 5, ICF staff and 4 hearty member volunteers reskinned the northwest hoop house in our complex at 282 Intervale Road.

We have to wait for non-windy, non-rainy days, as you can imagine. And such a project takes many hands and some patience. Think of trying to wrap a present that requires ladders, ropes, and weight to be successful. (In the past we’ve used large potatoes as the weight on the ropes. They are easy to toss and provide just enough tension to hold the plastic down while edges are being fastened.)

While the plastic is thick, winds, ice, and sun can do a number on the material. There is a double layer of plastic and fans provide some insulation between the layers. Air warmed by the sun can be quite toasty! We use these houses in the winter for spinach, baby lettuce, and baby kale. In the summer they are used for peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, and eggplant.

Some members have wondered about our winter growing in these houses. They are not heated with anything but the sun. We cover the rows with mulch and plastic and keep the greens as warm as possible. They don’t freeze but they are in a slow growth state. So spinach sown in December might not be ready until February! January and February are the months where we are not likely to have fresh greens for our winter share members.

In the summer months we’ll hardly be able to keep up with the rapid growth in these houses. It won’t be long now!