Friday, October 12, 2012

My Garden to Yours: Mini Hoop Tunnel

We had frost one night over Thanksgiving weekend and I thought my snow garden dreams had come to an end, but my beets, carrots and spinach are still alive.  I don't know if they're growing very much - I think I planted them too late in the season so they're probably not going to survive the cold weather.  But I'll keep protecting them as long as there's life in them.
Here are the beets... I've since thinned them out a bit.

Yesterday I built my own mini hoop tunnels for these fragile little crops.
Amy Proulx suggested I make the hoops out of sticks and she said I could use a thin bedsheet for the row cover.  I ended up buying a row cover for ten bucks at Ritchie's Garden Centre.   
The main thing about mini hoop tunnels is you make the space around the plants as small as possible without the plants actually touching the fabric.  This creates a warm air space to protect against the frost. 
I built the frame out of lilac branches (I have plenty on hand).  

I trimmed six down to about three feet each then ended up trimming them some more once they were in the ground.

I used a rock to drive the branches into the ground on an angle, then I connected each pair where they crossed over with twine.  Here's the frame in all its beauty.  It seemed stable enough without needing a centre brace.

I then gently placed the row cover over the frame and weighed it down with bricks and rocks.  

Simple as that.  At least I know I can make one of these now... it seems there's lots of room for creativity and experimenting.  We'll see how the beets, carrots and spinach fare.  If they last into colder weather, I'll put a layer of plastic over the row cover.  I think I also have to protect the beets and carrots with straw or shredded leaves in the winter.     

I'm also all set for some early spring planting with this mini hoop tunnel.  April planting here I come!
- Mary Mary
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1 comment:

Melissa said...

I love your ingenuity.
~Miss Greenish Thumb~