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Screened Hoop Houses Keep Pests Out
The portable hoop houses at Beech Grove Farm (Vol. 41, No. 5) are working better than ever these days. Eric and Anne Nordell have modified their original design to allow more ventilation while protecting plants from pests. The modifications have also extended the life of the plastic covering the hoop houses.
    “Originally, the plastic covering was secured to the sill plate with wood lathes,” says Eric Nordell. “The only ventilation was end to end. We have since gone to caterpillar-style sides with rope pulls to raise and lower the plastic, allowing cross ventilation.”
    The problem with open sides is that insects and wildlife have easy access. The Nordells’ solution is to first layer the hoops with screening and secure it to the sill plates. Then they overlay the screening with plastic.
    “A positive side effect of adding the screening is reduced stress on plants and plastic,” adds Nordell. “The screening acts like a windbreak, reducing wind pressure on the plants. Plus, since adding the screening, we are getting 9 to 10 years life from the plastic versus 5 to 6 years previously.”
    One thing that hasn’t changed with the Nordells is the portability of their hoop houses. As originally described, multiple hoop houses are set up with 18-ft. strips of cover crops in between. Every 2 years, hoop house coverings are removed and 4 by 4-in. sill plate beams and hoops are transferred to refreshed and renewed soil. The 2-year-old beds are then seeded down with cover crops.
    Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Eric and Anne Nordell, 3410 Rt. 184, Trout Run, Penn. 17771 (ph 570 634-3197; aenordell@gmail.com).

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2021 - Volume #45, Issue #3