Thursday, December 26, 2013

Summer (and fall) project Part 3

The last project I needed to finish for 2013 was far less fun, more stressful, and way more time consuming than the other two.  In May we had 70 mph + winds.  I pulled into the nursery to find this:

Where the plants are sitting in the first picture is where the hoop-house was.  The north end got picked up and moved about 20'.  In addition to the physical damage, May was very cold, wet, and windy this past spring; and we had two events in June to vend at.  While our plants didn't look as good as I'd hoped for those events, they looked better than I'd imagined.

Despite this being a royal PITA, we were lucky with a few things.  Neither the clear poly or the shade cloth ripped.  Also, despite how mangled the structure itself looks, there was very little damage.  The purlin sections (the pipe that runs the whole length of the house down the center) were only slightly warped, and only one hoop was bent and only enough to be an inconvenience when putting plastic on.

Step 1 to fix this catastrophe had to be finished that night (after an already 10 hour day at work, why am I involved in two nursery businesses?), removal of the poly and the shade cloth.  The pics were taken after most of the poly was removed.  I had to cut down a small tree that the house was resting on to do so.

Step 2 was moving all of the plants home where we could take better care of them and keep them out of frost.  This meant a few trips back and forth as well as a month of moving plants in and out of a three-season room.  There was little damage or loss of the plants themselves, but they did not grow as fast as they should have and therefore weren't as lush as they could have been.

Structure is up
Eventually (after our vending events and the busy summer were over) we needed to actually disassemble the structure, this is when I found out that there was little damage.  We also decided to move the house to a new location on the property and use ground-sleeves instead of regular ground anchors.  They allow more stability of the house and a lower likelihood of this happening again.  This meant drilling 42 3' deep holes in hard-packed clay.  The auger we rented could barely do it and it took 3 hours to do 12 holes.  We found that using old fashioned hand augers was far easier and faster.  So much for modern technology being better.

Another piece of the puzzle was uncooperative weather in the fall.  Once the house was up, we needed to cover it.  My days off to do so were mostly met with wind, rain, or both.  I finally got it covered much later than normal, in mid-November.  Everything is now put away for the winter and hopefully we don't have to deal with this again!

This project took up A LOT of time and meant very little propagation of new plants and pretty much no time for hybridizing.  This was also one of the reasons for my other 2 projects; it meant getting a lot more plants in the ground and out of pots.  Less for me to take care of and worry about and less to put away in fall.

Ready for winter. It snowed a few days later.

Cloth is on!

Next year (after our vending events!) we will be adding gravel, there just wasn't time this year.  The new location has easier access for us, more even ground with less mud, and is easier to mow around.

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