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Urban Farm Fanatic Item #2 – Aquaponics Greenhouse Anyone?


Original Hoop Siteplan Mock-up.
Shed shown at bottom.

Some things I had to work out in my head with regards to building a greenhouse were its size and location. However the other consideration I wanted to mull over was the ‘type’ of greenhouse. Not only how it was built, but how the food within was to be grown.

“Come again?”, you may say.. but surprisingly there are many different means at ones disposal to grow fruits and veggies. Ultimately my decision ended with me wanting to put together a Hoop Greenhouse with the garden grown Aquaponically.  If you’re new to these concepts, the previous links will provide additional details for each.

I decided on a hoop because it is the least expensive structure to build, is considered non-permanent, therefore it does not require permitting, and is relatively easy to design and setup. Originally I planned on a 12×50, but eventually reduced that to 12×40 because of the yards space requirements and was able to squeeze in the same amount of grow area by simply eliminating a staging area on one end.

The Bush Problem

Placed on the northern side of our yard with an East/West layout to maximize overall sunlight capture.

I began by laying out the four corners of the structure and then buying a minimal amount of supplies to get an idea of the overall height and interior dimensions.

As you can see in this first photo, I was also having to deal with the previous tenants, i.e. some bushes that I would need to evict from their locations. The hoop staging actually turned out to be a great idea! I originally was planning on using 3/4 inch PVC in 20 foot lengths to create the arches.. a couple of small problems though.. 1. there was no way that was going to fit into the car, 2. the 3/4 inch PVC looked a bit flimsy. So instead I bought 1 inch diameter PVC in 10 foot lengths with a 45 degree joiner connecting the two ends together (this also created a nice aesthetic). This worked out phenomenally! The base of each PVC is slid over a pre-cut piece of 3 foot rebar that I drove halfway into the ground with a sledge hammer. The other half is left exposed and you simply bend and slide the PVC over it.

Bushes Be Gone!

Bushes Be Gone!

Next up was to tackle those bushes! These little bad boys have been here the better part of a decade, so getting them out I believed was going to take multiple weekends, turns out it took me all of about 5 hours of manual labor. The ground was wet from a previous nights rainstorm and that made digging that much easier. The roots were the real labor intensive aspect. Hit those repeatedly with the end of the shovel and my body weight. Eventually, physics won the day and I was able to get all the bushes out!

The next stage is to get the rest of my materials for this build (I’ll post those on this post once I’ve finalized the list). I’ve got to get some landscape fabric that needs to go down and then about a 2-3 inch based of rip-rap to help discourage burrowing animals and provide a nice walking surface with good drainage. After that its the rest of the rebar, PVC, and some 2×4 lumber to build the end frames for the door and ventilation.