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Polytunnel Progress…. (s-l-o-w)

November 6, 2011

Had I started with a perfectly flat piece of ground, picked the dimensions, measured and pre-cut everything, snapped it together and THEN built beds in it……

I’d have been done a couple weeks ago…

But I didn’t- the beds were there, the grade wasn’t flat, the dimensions were customized as I went, AND I don’t know exactly what I’m doing or whether this will even work.

It is my kind of project I suppose. šŸ˜‰

Anyway, I did make some progress this weekend..

Saturday I scavenged a window and spent the afternoon framing the norther (house facing) end of the tunnel.

The window is a scrap sash piece that measures 36″ wide x 19″ tall; I didn’t have luck finding a suitable door so I decided to put the window on the north end and the door on the back or south end.  Why?  I’ll probably end up rigging a homemade door up and the likelihood of it being an eyesore is pretty good.  I’d rather walk around to the back to enter vs have an unhappy Mrs cohutt looking at an ugly door from the sun room all winter.

So the framing ended up being sort of oddly radial; I wanted to put enough of a frame to stabilize the whole tunnel and give a broad span to tack the plastic to in order to keep flapping to a minimum.

Saturday afternoon this was the view from the outside,  with the (filthy) vent window tacked in temporarily:

From the inside, the same:

This morning before I hung the window I hosed it off and the dirt didn’t budge; there is no telling how long it had been sitting in the yard of the salvage place.   Earlier I noticed that a smallish luffa had actually dried and turned brown on the vine so I picked it and peeled the skin off to see if it would work as a scouring pad to loosen the dirt.

(Even though I had planted these for the primary purpose of growing these “sponges”, I was still taken aback when there was in fact a luffah under the skin. Damn, just like they said there would be.)

The luffah:

The clean window, installed with the auto-opener freshly installed as well:

And from the outside:

The black piston on the opened contains a wax that expands as temperatures rise so the piston forces open the window progressively and there are springs that pull the window closed again as it cools. The directions said to refrigerate the piston so that it is as retracted as possible during installation. I did this and had no trouble setting it up.

But would it work?

Actually, yes, it would. I found it had opened the window a bit as it warmed up while I was inside eating lunch:

I got the back framed in then took an unplanned nap sitting inside in the warm sun. When I woke up, I disconnected the plastic and slid it back towards the south by about a foot (I didn’t leave enough overhang on the south end to allow for an easy seal of the joint between the wall and the end hoop. DUH.) This put me off schedule to finish the ends this weekend so I’ll have to work a dark evening or two this week to finish up.

Still, the north end is almost completed; the experience gained will make the south end move much quicker I hope.

So here is the almost complete product:

(Note the loose plastic will be trimmed and taped and the dip in the middle of the structure will firm up when the back side is done.)

From the inside:

I feel pretty good about it at this point; it should be completely functional after one more work day.
(I am tired, please forgive the grammar/spelling mistakes overnight; I’ll probably see them tomorrow and will correct them.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Dailey permalink
    November 6, 2011 10:44 pm

    It’s huge! Looks great

  2. Julie Herron Carson permalink
    November 7, 2011 6:47 am

    Wow — looking forward to seeing it in person! Maybe we should eat Thanksgiving appetizers inside… šŸ™‚

    • November 7, 2011 7:27 am

      I don’t know about that-

      The only thing that comes close to the smell of broccoli and cabbage cooking is broccoli and cabbage growing in a humid enclosed environment.

  3. November 7, 2011 8:03 am

    Looking good. I’m hoping to make use of your learning to be able to do something similar myself next year.

  4. Mrs. Cohutt permalink
    November 7, 2011 8:08 am

    AHA! You’ve created an entire structure to use as a secret napping place….I’m onto you now!

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