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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
If I build a hoop house with PVC, what can I use to cover it? I would need something tough. What's the best way to ventilate it? The premade kits seem to be flimsy, but they have window flaps built in. I can't sew those myself.
 

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Thanks. They actually make a product called hoop house plastic?
I use horse panels not cattle panels. 2X4 inch holes keeps most varmints out. Pricey though. I used to buy them for $24. current price here in Missouri is$72, Hail screen would be better that chicken wire. Tougher for them to chew though.

Your first problem is soil. Find a truck load of old horse manure. It will be low on nitrogen as too much vegetation in horse manure. Add chicken or rabbit manure. After a yr do soil tests to see what you need. Probably potash and phosphate. Raised beds is the smartest way to go. I use raw oak 4X 6 beams nailed together to make 3 X 8 boxes. Oak would be too expensive there I would think. The old hot tub planter is good idea. Old stock tanks? bathtubs? I've even seen old toilets used. This is Missouri ! If you use cattle panels for fencing. Bow them a little, attach chicken wire across to each end first. Let it flatten out and that will put the chicken wire on tight. I have toyed with the idea of using a carport frame but have not run across a used one. Found a product called Tough Screen but scared to price it for a cover. Their advertizing says a dog cant chew through it.

Squirrels? Here we used a 22LR or .410. They seem to take a bite out of each tomato for some reason. Once you get the gardening bug there is not going back.
 

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Buying a prefab house with a plastic cover and flaps would be easier than building a wire enclosure,
I take it you've never bought any furniture from IKEA?....and no comparing price per sq ft....but it's your money.
If I build a hoop house with PVC, what can I use to cover it? I would need something tough. What's the best way to ventilate it? The premade kits seem to be flimsy, but they have window flaps built in. I can't sew those myself.
All the Youtubers say you gotta use the expensive 6mm PE plastic...I used to use the cheap 4mm stuff- Neither will last more than 2 yrs, and the thick stuff won't hold up to a fallen tree or grizzly bear attack any better than the 4mm.

You have a double problem-- critters & temps, So I'd build the hoop skeleton, cover it with chicken wire and then the plastic for the cold months Just take it off when frost is no longer a danger.

I wouldn;t worry about mice gnawing thru chicken wire at all, and even raccoons won't bother if it won't get them a steak meal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
I need a couple of answers. Will squirrels get through 1" chicken wire? Will they respect screen or chew through it?

Screen would be easy to handle. They haven't eaten through my screen pool enclosure, but then they have no reason to, since there are no tomatoes there.
 

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I am in the process of putting up another greenhouse now. 28'x40'. I bought this kit from the Amish. They suggested that I use 4-6 helpers. Well with an empty nest and busy neighbors, it was me with an extension ladder or standing in the loader bucket of my tractor at its highest point yesterday in the rain, wrestling with attaching the roof peaks and then trying to smooth out the bent ends of the metal tubes so they would fit inside of eachother.
Imagine a scene somewhere between the Three Stooges, Benny Hill and Harold Lloyd.
The one I am erecting now is back from the road and in a low area, so with a dead cell phone and no visibility by passers by, I would have been laying there indefinitely if injured, or until my wife decided she needed me to do something and came looking.
By the way, she came home and said "The greenhouse is looking nice."...she has no idea, lol.
 

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Squirrels won't go through chicken wire. But they will find an opening between sections to get in. Once one gets in he phones all his friends and tells them how to get in. Squirrel can chew through screen but I don't know if they will. Are you planning to use fiberglass or aluminum screen?
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
I figured I would go get the metal type.

The squirrels here keep turning up dead for some reason. I guess I should be more careful when firing the old Nylon 66 randomly into the yard to celebrate Cinco de Mayo Month. I hope the ones that live in the chicken house don't make the mistake of eating the rat poison I put there. I smeared it with peanut butter to discourage them.
 

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I'm not understanding the desire for a full on covered greenhouse in FL. In Summer the heat build up in an enclosed greenhouse will cook the plants. If you want to protect the plants from critters than build a frame for a hoop tunnel and cover it with poultry netting. Squirrels can't get in that but they can, and will, chew through plastic.

When it's the high heat of Summer you might even need to cover the tunnel with shade cloth to protect the plants from the hot August sun.

Or use cattle panels as others suggested and cover that with poultry wire.
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
When I started working on this, the first thing I saw with my own eyes was a prefab greenhouse made of plastic. The lady who sold me my plants said the squirrels respected it, and the Internet said it would allow 85% of the sunlight through, so it would not hurt the plants. Then I saw that people had problems with these greenhouses falling apart after a year or two, so I wanted something different. This is the background you need to understand this thread.

If you go back over the posts, you will see my goal is not a full-on covered greenhouse. It's a squirrel-resistant structure that will last more than a couple of years, which will be sturdy enough to hold a shade if the sun is too bright, and suitable for plastic if I decide to try to protect plants from frost.
 

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My little prefab tent greenhouse easily gets to 95°f and up on sunny Ohio days. I can't imagine how hot it would be if the temp outside is 95°. I take the cover off mine when it warms up. If I didn't have seedlings that need to be protected from the rain I would take it off this week.

The sun and summer heat might be why they fall apart for most people.
 

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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
If I took the cover off a greenhouse full of plants, the squirrels would put an end to my tomatoes in about an hour. It must be nice to live where you don't have this problem.

I think using my scrap lumber and chicken wire is the best solution. The lumber is already here, so that kills about half of the cost.
 

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LOL, you don't know my squirrel problems! They love tomatillos, sweet corn and sunflower heads. They kill tomatoes by burying walnuts by the roots. Every spring I have to dig walnut trees out of my gardens. I have been losing the squirrel battle for years.

But you did bring up an interesting point earlier. You said they take just one bite of the tomato for the moisture. Have you tried distracting them with birdbaths or water saucers? They are always drinking out of my birdbaths here in the summer.
 
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