End walls seem to give folks anxiety. From a structural standpoint, the hoop house itself isn't reliant on the end walls to stay up. However, having contact points to secure greenhouse plastic is very important. The other equally important consideration when building endwalls is door placement and making the structure work for you.
WHY WE ENCOURAGE ENDWALLS ON A GREENHOUSE
We always discourage open-ended designs that cannot be closed in, i.e., caterpillar tunnels. This design creates a large parasail during a storm. Storm damage is most common when the wind can get on the inside of the structure.
ADDING DOORS AND GABLE VENTS TO ENDWALLS
So what are your door options? You can make a solid end wall, a single door, double doors, or gable vents for greenhouse kits. It all depends on preference and your farm's needs.
Gable vents help to release excess hot air from your greenhouse. This allows for better circulation. If you are facing extreme heat, this is a great addition.
When deciding whether to install a single or double door design, consider whether or not the single door width can accommodate harvest carts and wheelbarrows. During harvest, would the extra-large doorway be helpful?
HOW TO BUILD AN ENDWALL FOR GREENHOUSE KITS
DIY kits are often framed like the walls in a house. A horizontal base plate supports vertical studs while studs offer support and serve as an anchor point for door and vent frames. Vertical studs are attached by various means to the top, often with carriage bolts.
Metal kits offer the same framework but with metal poles, square tubing, and crossbars. For metal kits, this may mean less flexibility in full customization. However, you can often save time and worry with pre-designed door kits.
Check out this video on building endwalls for a step by step tutorial.
ATTACHING PLASTIC TO ENDWALLS
Remember that you are inserting spring wire into the lock channel around the base, door, door frame, vent frames, and any uprights for end wall plastic. The more you can secure, the better.
Begin securing the plastic across the base, including horizontal door and door frame pieces at the bottom.
You will then secure the plastic to the top with a second layer of wiggle wire in the end wall hoop lock channels that you first secured the plastic in when you began installing the plastic. When working the wrinkles out, think about working from a central point and out diagonally.
Next, work your way up the door, door frame, and uprights to the top of the hoop. It works best to work from the bottom to the top from the middle out on one side and then the other. Securing these individual pieces after the perimeter makes the end wall skin very tight, and that is precisely what you want. Lastly, cut between the door and the door frame between lock channels to allow the doors to open. Watch this video for more a visual.
CUSTOMIZING YOUR END WALLS TO MEET YOUR NEEDS
It should be noted that just because a kit may have limitations does not mean that you are stuck solely with a basic end wall. You still have options to build your own add-ons for your own needs.
Suppose your needs change over time. That's okay. Add a door later. Seal up vents in the off-season. You can amend endwalls without tearing up the existing hoop house. All farms go through changes. Your ability to think through solutions creatively is what makes the challenges of farming so rewarding.
Putting up the hoops is one of the most dramatic steps in your build process. Finally, all of your preparation and work starts to look as big as it will be. Putting the hoops together and setting them is when the structure really starts to look like something. Read more to learn all about installing hoops for a hoop house.