And Then There Were Three: Third Hoop House Complete at Washington Corrections Center for Women

By Bri Morningred, SPP Graduate Research Assistant and Washington Corrections Center for Women Conservation Nursery Coordinator

This third hoop house at WCCW differs from the first two in that it does not have doors; this will allow us to grow plants who like things a little colder.

The third hoop house at WCCW differs from the first two in that it does not have doors; this will allow us to grow plants who like things a little colder.

At long last the third hoop house in SPP’s conservation nursery at Washington Corrections Center for Women (WCCW) is complete! There they stand, all in a row, ready to shelter the upcoming rounds of sowing and hard work that the WCCW crew will complete. As I started with SPP after the first two hoop houses were already constructed, it was an amazing experience getting to see one built from the ground up—literally!

It all begins with marking the space where the hoop house is supposed to go, measuring the width of the poles and their spacing from each other, and marking everything with spray paint or tape. Next comes the hole-digging. This is a really difficult task but the WCCW crew made it look like a piece of cake. :-)

Once the holes are dug, cement is poured into the holes, the base poles are set into the cement and left to harden. Further construction can’t happen until those poles set otherwise everything will tip over! Next comes attaching the frame to the supporting poles—here’s the cool part—and these frames and all the pieces to connect them are created at Stafford Creek Corrections Center! A very cool part of the partnership to get these hoop houses built, I think.

Once the frame is attached, boards are attached horizontally along the lower sides of the houses as base-boards for the wire lock track (I’ll get to that part in a minute). To do that, and to attach the wire lock track to the rest of the metal frame, we actually had to drill holes into the metal—a feat I had no idea was even possible until this project. The track for the wire lock is a groove that the wire lock (or wiggle-wire ;-) ) fits into; this holds the plastic in place without ripping it. With the wire lock tracks in place, now we can unroll and place the plastic. This was the most difficult part as the plastic is in a giant roll which is insanely heavy, and has to be hoisted up above the frame and unrolled little by little. Once again, the crew made it look so easy! After that, all that was left to do was to trim the plastic, attach it to the frame with the wiggle-wire, and lay the black ground cloth inside the hoop house and TA-DA third hoop house done!

Unlike the first two hoop houses, this one will not have doors on either end; it will be open in order to accommodate those plants that prefer to be more cold than warm throughout the growing season. After a very successful first sowing season at WCCW, we are excited to grow additional prairie plant species in this new hoop house in the coming season. We will keep you posted—thanks for tuning in!

The three hoops houses at WCCW lined up in the dawn sunlight--they will be supporting over 10 species of native prairie plants through the next sowing season.

The three hoops houses at WCCW lined up in the dawn sunlight–they will be supporting over 10 species of native prairie plants through the next sowing season.

Thanks to Joint Base Lewis-McChord for funding construction of the third hoop house.

Cheers,

Bri

 

3 Comments:

  1. So Close to a Million Plants We Can Almost Taste It | Sustainability in Prisons Project

    […] continue to thrive at three facilities in Washington State: Stafford Creek Corrections Center, Washington Corrections Center for Women, and Shotwell’s Landing Nursery. Since 2010, we have delivered almost 1,000,000 plants for […]

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