Covering the hoop house with new plastic (Spring 2017)

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I thought it might be fun to share some of our farming activities today. Believe it or not, my husband has already been out planting sweet corn, but today we are talking tomatoes!

A few years ago the farm added a hoop house (or unheated greenhouse, or high tunnel) to extend the growing season. You know what we’ve got to work with weather wise here in Upstate New York! The hoop house is used solely for early tomatoes on our farm. The tomatoes are planted directly in the ground and are clamped to strings that are attached to the horizontal beams just under the arch of the roof of the hoop house. The tomatoes grow upwards, and in their nice warm digs, and we have tomatoes to take to market around late June. It is a beautiful thing.

The hoop house is great but it is not a totally maintenance free operation, periodically it needs to be moved to preserve soil integrity, and the cold winds of winter do a number on the plastic sheeting that makes up the sides and roof of the hoop house. The smaller tears can be patched,  but once one piece starts to go it doesn’t take long for the rest to follow.
You can watch the video of the process we use to replace the plastic above.  I promise I tried to keep it short and managed to fit 4 hours of work into about 3 minutes of video. Or you can check out the photo gallery below. I think the most surprising part to everyone who sees this process is the use of baseballs!

As I am sitting here writing this, it is about a week after we recovered the hoop house. The ground has been tilled within the hoop house and tomato plants have been planted, our growing season is started!


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