Time to take the plastic off.
This pic shows kale on the left side. My notes read ‘Vates Kale’, but I didn’t note the seed vender. I like this kale. A few carrots are in the very front right side. The empty space after the carrots is where spinach was planted. Under all 3 of my hoops this past winter, I had a real problem with aphids. They, of course, never freeze out under the hoops – nothing freezes under the hoop. A bit further back, with the red stems, are Detroit beets. I don’t know if they will mature in a month – within a month I will be pulling out everything except some kale and chard so that I can plant my spring crop of squash and peppers. These cool weather crops had their chance. If the beets don’t mature their roots, I will at least be able to harvest the greens.
I am really having a problem trying to figure out how to grow under the hoop in Texas. This past winter started out in October with a rough week or 2 of freezes, then it was very warm for a few months and winter finished with a few weeks of freezing weather. This lack of consistency causes problems like early bolting and stunting. I’m going to have to think this thru for next winter. I also learned this winter to NOT grow broccoli or cabbage under the hoop. (The cabbage & broccoli grown outside of the hoops is doing great.) I also can’t grow spinach under the hoop. I’ll also have to be more vigilant about the aphids. Also, the cos lettuce didn’t need to be under the hoops – it didn’t do well. I think that the main reason that I planted all of these things under the hoops was to protect them from rabbits. Last fall the rabbits ate all of my lettuce and spinach. This winter they didn’t even touch any of the cabbage or broccoli that was planted in the open. The only rabbit issue I had was one blue berry plant eaten.
Some of this gorgeous kale is bolting and some isn’t. While I like this kale, I don’t believe a few plants will be enough to save for seeds. Also, I just don’t have the room to let this leaf crop sprout it’s seed heads – that takes a lot of space.
This is a close up of the kale and small beets.
There is no reason to show pics of the other 2 hoop garden beds – they aren’t this impressive.
Last winter this bed provided me a bountiful crop of chard that I spent weeks dehydrating in the food dryer. Chard will be one of my main hoop crops next winter.
Again, my hoop garden is 5′ wide & 16′ long. A 10′ length of gray plastic conduit fits perfectly from one bottom edge to the other, held in place by a 2′ section of 3/8″ rebar cut into 2′ sections with 12″ of each piece pounded into the ground. I bought a $40 box of thick plastic. The 100′ roll was cut into four 25′ sections. The 12′ width fit perfectly over the hoops with a foot on each end resting on the ground, weighted down with old 2×4 pieces of lumber. The extra 3 to 4′ of plastic on each end was gathered and weighed down with a few bricks or rocks.
I like the idea of the hoop gardens, but I need to rethink this and work it some other way next winter.
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