FEATURED PRODUCT: Movable Structures

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The idea of a moving structure allows a user, with a little creativity, to protect 2 -3 times as much area with the same building and investment. It is a very simple concept as long as some basic guidelines are adhered to. It can be applied to many of our standard structures.

Please see our Movable Structures page for more information as well as our recently posted “Moving a Structure” article and don’t hesitate to call us with any questions regarding this unique application.

Winter Care of Your Structure

We have published a few articles regarding winter care and maintenance, and suggest anyone who has purchased a structure from us to review them to make sure your shelter is safe over this winter. As always, we are available for anything you are wondering or concerned about. We would be happy to help.

Winter Care & Maintenance
Winter Storm and Your Structures
Putting up Structures After Snowfall
Weather Cautions
Cold Weather Poly Install
Winter Care

 

Retightening a Loose Structure Cover

Previously we outlined how to do a temporary fix for loose cover. This should not be left for an extended period. Re-tightening a cover does not have to be done in one day.

  • The job MUST split into two parts lengthwise.
  • The cover must be pulled lengthwise BEFORE it is pulled from side to side.
  • Make sure you do the tightening process on a calm, warm day.
  • You should do the end which looks the worst first.
  • This job will require taking ALL of the cover fasteners out.

Taking a short cut will leave you with more wrinkles.
Areas with wrinkles will flutter more and cause stress points.
This will also cause the cover to deteriorate quicker.

When you are tightening the cover, you should always pull 90 degrees to the wrinkle.

This means that after you have secured at the peak,
most often you will be pulling diagonally to the corner.

Once you have done one end/half and the wind is still down, you can start loosing the fasteners on the other end and repeat the process until complete.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

You can also see additional information in our installation guide:
Tarp Covering Instructions
Plastic Covering Instructions
Wirelock & Side Wall Cover Fasteners
covering options

Q&A Friday! Submit your questions

***new feature***

Norm will be doing a Q&A video on Friday answering your greenhouse and storage questions! It will be posted to YouTube by the end of the day Friday and shared on all our major social networks…stay tuned!

So send your greenhouse and storage related questions in: comment, post or message us on facebook, tweet us, message us on LinkedIn or email multisheltersales@gmail.com We are looking forward to answering your questions!

2 Months Until Open House! *You’re Invited!*

Save the date! May 26, 2017 10am-4pm will be our annual open house

Free food, prizes, workshops, meet & greet with the staff and more! Stay tuned for more information as we get closer to the date

Temporary Fix for a Loose Cover

There are a number of instances where a cover will need to be installed in less than ideal conditions. This can be either be on a windy day or in the cold (-10C or worse) and the job simply can not wait.

This will almost invariably lead to a situation where the cover will need to be re-tightened on a warmer and/or calmer day.

Doing this temporary fix will get you an extra month of time that you can wait until it warms up and you can do a better job retightening the loose cover.

The lifespan of a cover can very quickly be reduced if it is repeatedly flapping in the hard wind. A very effective, temporary fix to give you more time to do the job right, is to put ropes or straps over the building (as in the photos below)

A 1” or 2” wide seat belt type material is ideal but likely you will need to settle for a soft, marine grade rope instead.

Using nylon rope is almost worse then using nothing because of the abrasion factor.

  • The idea is to put a strap or rope between pairs of hoops every 12’ to 16’ and pull as tight as you can.
  • Use nails or eye bolts on your base as the spot for securing the ropes or straps.

If your cover is especially loose, it is best to install each of the ropes or straps snugly first. Then go back and tighten them as tight as you can. This will prevent you from pulling too much in one spot.

Please don’t hesitate to call if you have any questions about this technique. We would be happy to help clarify anything you need, to keep your building secure.

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Season Extension: Hanley Caterpillar Tunnels

The third area to discuss regarding season extension are those structures that are simple enough to disassemble and relocate to another spot-primarily referring to Hanley Caterpillar Tunnels.

The real lure of these buildings is their low cost and simplicity to move. Generally the area is prepared in advance and then the tunnel is moved over the area when the planting is to be done.

Since the original design specified 6′ hoop spacing, the intent was always to remove the cover before risk of heavier snow fall. More often now, growers are going to 5′ spacing (and sometimes 4′) to allow the covers to remain on longer or even permanently.

By having a smaller hoop spacing, it allows the cover to stay on permanently, which allows for a much earlier start in the spring.

The key to the concept of the hanley working is in the rope.

  • The back and forth pattern of the rope resembles the way a person would lace up a boot.
  • Typically there is a spring loaded clip at the base where the rope passes through.
  • Once the rope is fully installed, it is important to tighten it through three passes from end to end.
  • If the rope is not tight enough, the wind will create wiggle and movement sideways.
  • When the plastic is tight enough, it also allows the grower to slide the plastic up the hoop to allow ventilation.

Generally the plastic is about 25′ longer then the tunnel.
This allows the installer to bunch up (pig tail style) the extra poly at both ends between a pair of posts.
It is important to get the plastic as tight as possible lengthwise first.
There must also be a rope from the top of the last hoop to the tie off post.

There are a couple of challenges to consider with the hanley tunnels.

  1. One of these challenges is to create a proper entrance. Typically entrance is achieved by slightly lifting the plastic and ducking underneath.
  2. The other are of challenge is the low shoulder height of the structure. This restricts the use to a couple rows of taller items in the middle and a couple rows of shorter plants along the side. The width of the tunnel does lend itself to three regular size beds.

Once you have learned about the nuances of the hanley tunnels, and asked any questions that come up, you will be better prepared to have these efficient season extenders work for you and your application.

Feel free to look at our Hanley Application page for more information and photos, and give us a call with anything else you require.

We are pleased to have many happy customers these structures are working for, and look forward to you being next!

Season Extension: Moving Your Structure

A significant part of season extension involves moving an intact structure.

This basically allows you to get two (or possibly three) plots of production from one investment.

The idea is to start a relatively cold tolerant crop very early in the season (the timing will be different in different locations).

  1. Once the crop is firmly established in location A, (and it has warmed up) you will move the structure to location B and start another crop.
  2. You will harvest the crop in location A and then after working the soil, plant another crop in location A which is intended for fall harvesting.
  3. After location B is harvested and before frost you will move the structure back to A.
  4. Instead of doing twice in location A you could also choose location C.

A structure can be equipped with wheels which will run over the soil. There is quite a bit of flexibility where you go and the terrain you navigate.

The structure can be equipped with rollers on a track. This will determine where you go and this is usually intended for moving a bigger structure with fewer people.

The most common method of moving is sliding the structure on the soil. The base rail can be wood or steel.

It is critically import to understand the logistics of moving on a structure before you start. It is not hard to move a structure but it is also not hard to do damage.

Having a plan for proper anchoring is very important for a moveable structure. Your structure is at a vulnerable state when you release the anchors. Once you start, the job must be completed quickly. You have to be aware that the anchors may not come out or go back in easily so you may need to give yourself some extra time.

One other area of consideration on a moveable structure is the ends. There must be some sort of a flap or vent along the bottom so that when a structure is being moved, the ends will not uproot plant material. Generally speaking to have this ability in the ends takes away from the structural integrity, so some extra anchoring may be required.

You can see more information and photos on our movable information page. Please don’t hesitate to call us with ANY questions you may have. This can be a very useful addition to your structure, but must be understood correctly.

Season Extension: Ventilating & Heating

To make your greenhouse more of a year round functioning entity, there are two main areas in which you have to make the structure more efficient-Heating and Ventilation.

1. Heating is your biggest expense for the winter so retaining heat is a priority.

The easiest way to retain heat in your greenhouse is to install a double poly cover with air in between. A small squirrel cage blower attached to the inside layer of plastic aids in maintaining air between layers.

The more dead air space between these layers you can create, the closer you will be to achieving a 30% reduction in heat loss. Holes will result in air movement and therefore less efficiency. 3″-5″ consistent space is ideal. It is a given that you would have less then that around the edges and over the ridge.

Double plastic will have a considerably longer life span. It is important to realize that as plastic gets older, the light transmission will be reduced which will reduce production.

Infrared plastic (IR poly) does further reduce heat loss and increase light diffusion so it can also be a consideration when looking for ways to reduce heating costs.

2. Ventilation is also one of your biggest considerations for the warmer times of the year. Ventilation can be done through forced or mechanical methods or passive through vents or roll up sides.

Vents are extremely effective since they can be placed higher up where the heat needs to be expelled. Mechanical ventilation is more costly both up front and to operate but it is easier to control since it is attached to a thermostat. For mechanical ventilation to be effective, it needs to be sized and located properly.

Roll up sides are less costly and simpler to install but are restricted by the fact that you have to be there to open and to close.

Climate control is especially challenging in the spring and the fall since most days you will have the need for both ventilating and heating.

One area that you need to be especially aware of is stagnant air. Without proper air movement, circulation and exchanging, stagnant air can cause many different types of diseases. It is important to understand what your plants require

Stay tuned for more on our series about Season Extension and Your Greenhouse including Norm’s talk at the Guelph Organic Conference, coming soon!

Guelph Organic Conference Update

Please note we will not be at #goc17 until the afternoon. We look forward to seeing you and chatting then

It was a wonderful day yesterday at the trade show and with Norm speaking. So many great questions.

We will have Norm’s talk posted next week on our website and YouTube channel so stay tuned!

Thank you to everyone for your interest and enthusiasm!

Guelph Organic Conference: Season Extension Technology 

Come hear Norm speak this morning at the Guelph Organic Conference 

“Season extension technology” is a broad topic which includes making your existing greenhouse into a more efficient year round production space. Season extension also includes the use of your structure in more then one place. Norm is looking forward to sharing from his 40+ years of knowledge and experience to help you get better value out of your greenhouse dollars. This workshop will build on what was presented previously in Greenhouses 101 and 102.

http://guelphorganicconf.ca/sessions/expert-greenhouse-choices-for-your-market-garden-operation/