Monthly Archives: February 2014

Under the Hoops

This is the first winter that I have had a covered hoop garden.  A few posts ago, you can see the garden beds with the hoops in place.  The hoops are 10′ under ground gray conduit.  About a dollar and a half each, not bad. They are secured into the ground with a 2′ section of 3/8″ rebar, cut to 2′ sections and pounded half way into the ground.

The tent is a 24′ section of thicker plastic from Lowes.  It was a 100′ roll that cost $40 something.  I cut it into 4 sections, allowing about 4′ to hang over the ends and be gathered and secured.  I did not nail the plastic on – I simply weighed the long sides down with pieces of lumber.  Seemed to work OK.

Since the plastic is only on the beds for half the year – about October thru March – and not the hard summer sun, I am hoping that the pieces will last several years.

I was surprised at the amount of heat under the plastic on a cool winter day.  The greens seemed to like it.

under the hoop

You can see a few garlic scattered about.  The greens in the front are luculus chard.  The greens on the left side, mid way back are kohlrabi, which we are eating for the greens.  On the front right side, out of view, is Parris Isle cos lettuce.  (Some of it seemed to freeze to death – unusual because I have never had it freeze to death before).  Scarlet nantes carrots are growing in the far back right side.  They seem to be happy.  They better fill out in the next month because by mid-March when I plan on pulling them to make room for some of my summer squash to get an early start.  They prefer warm weather, but I am going to see if I can start them early under the hoops with the plastic sheeting protecting and warming them.  The yellow flowers on the back left side are bok choy going to seed.  It won’t be any good because no insects were in the tent to pollinate them.  They took a beating when the outside temps reached down to the mid-teens – the white stems died but the green leaves seemed to survive just fine.  Every thing else – except possibly some lettuce – survived the seriously freezing temps.

This was my first winter to experiment with plastic covered garden tents for winter hardening.  Next winter I need to get some serious production since I now have an idea of what’s going on.  I also found out that to protect my winter crops from the rabbits and deer, I need to grow everything except the turnips and curly kale under the hoops.  All of my lettuce and spinach that I planted outside the tents was eaten.

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