I have prepared two of my raised beds for hoop gardens. I plan to do this for my 3rd bed that doesn’t have a raised cattle panel running down the middle of it.
The beds are made out of 16′ lengths of 1×6 treated lumber. The boxes are 5′ wide. I purchased four 20′ sections of 3/8″ rebar and had one of my sons cut them into 2′ sections. I decided to put 7 hoops on each 16′ bed. I pounded the 2′ sections of rebar 1′ into the ground, leaving 1′ above ground – the height of the bed side. I used 10′ sections of gray electrical conduit to bend over the bed for the arch. Each end of the conduit covers the raised 1′ section. Hopefully this will be satisfactory to anchor the pressured ends of the conduit. I plan to tie a piece of the gray conduit along the top of the arch to keep the pipes properly spaced. I will then cover the arches with clear plastic. I need to find a thick 50′ roll of plastic. Twenty-five feet will cover each bed with enough to gather at the ends. I need a roll that is at least 12′ wide so that it will cover the 10′ arch and leave at least a foot to lay on the ground and be weighed down by old garden timbers or lengths of wood.
I still need to work the ground around these beds – putting mulch around the beds.
The winters here have been getting colder each year for a while now, so I am hoping these covered hoop beds will allow me to grow winter crops better. On the list for my winter crops are: cabbage, broccoli, spinach, lettuce – both leaf and cos, turnips, carrots, fava beans, peas and whatever else I can’t think of at the moment. Garlic doesn’t need to be protected from the freezes.
My big plot of Fava beans froze out during our unusually cold ‘global warming’ winter last year. This year I decided to grow them in the greenhouse. I planted mostly Broad Windsor, with a dozen Aqua-something-or-other at the other end of the growing row.
They took a week or so to sprout, but once they did, they took off. These sprouts are about 2 weeks old. I expect the plants to top out at about 3 to 4 feet and hopefully be full of pods. They have very large pods that grow upward from the branch junctions.
In between the 2 patches of Fava beans, I planted Green Arrow peas. The seeds were 2 seasons old. I did store the seeds in a dark can, but not in the refrigerator. Today, I soaked about a hundred more peas for a few hours then replanted them in this open space. Hopefully within 2 weeks I will see their little sprouts.
I will plant many more peas outside in the next few weeks. I have an area about 16 feet by 5 feet that I need to turn over and get the peas in. After the pea harvest, which should be within 75 to 90 days from the time I plant them, that space will be planted in a 60 day bush bean, probably a wax bean.