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Sliding Hoophouse Details

The first three hoophouses built at the Student Organic Farm provided an earlier start and later finish on market production than had been previously possible; however, the summer months posed a problem. In the heat of South Carolina summers, temperatures inside the hoophouses could reach up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Such temperatures could stunt or even prevent fruit production. What was needed was a way to have hoophouse coverage when temperatures were low, but no coverage once temperatures reached a certain level. A sliding hoophouse was the solution.

Below is a photodocumentary of the construction of the sliding hoophouse.
Image depicts tracks that hoophouse will slide along when it needs to be moved. The first stage in creating a sliding hoophouse is to lay down tracks along which the hoophouse will slide. The tracks must be twice the length of the hoophouse.
Image depicts irrigation pipes that were laid to provide water. With the tracks down, irrigation pipes are laid to provide water in and around the hoophouse.
Image depicts the addition of the hoop frame during the construction process. The next step is contruction of the frame of the hoophouse. Like a stationary hoophouse, the sliding hoophouse has a series of hoops for support.
Image depicts the planting beds within the hoophouse. The foreground shows the hoophouse structure and the planting beds that have been dug. In the background are the tracks where the hoophouse will be slid once the ambient temperature rises.
Image depicts the windows used for vents that are located on the ends of the stationary hoophouses. In the three stationary hoophouses, windows are located on the flat walls at the ends to serve as vents. In the sliding hoophouse, vents are added at each end above the entrances in an attempt to provide more effective ventilation.
Image depicts workers adding plastic to the hoophouse, trying to accommodate the vent over the doors. Next, plastic is added to the hoophouse. In this photo, workers are discussing how to add plastic to the vent above the door. The track on which the hoophouse slides is also visible.
Image depicts workers adding plastic while maintaining the vent. Attaching the plastic to the structure while maintaining the vent requires some trial and error efforts.
Image depicts plants growing inside the sliding hoophouse during February. Plants inside the sliding hoophouse are protected from cool outdoor temperatures. The beds are separated by bricks. These bricks allow for quick tilling, help control weeds, and provide walkways.
This image shows the bricks which are used at the base of the sliding hoophouse to reinforce it. Bolts are used to anchor the sliding hoophouse in place. The bricks seen along the base at the end of the hoophouse prevent wind from getting in and lowering the temperature. When the outside temperature rises, the bolts and bricks are removed, and the hoophouse is slid out of the way to allow the plants to continue to grow.
This image depicts the 4 hoophouses at the Calhoun Field Laboratory. Finally, four hoophouses have been built at the Calhoun Field Lab, including the sliding hoophouse seen in the back left corner.

 

Maintained by: Kelly A. Gilkerson    
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