Thank you Eliot Coleman. For Seasons Harvest. Great book. A MUST READ!
Little did I know … I was about to start on one of the most exciting and fulfilling journeys of a gardeners lifetime. Well, of anyone’s lifetime.
Elliot says (somewhere in his book) that one layer of poly sheeting gets you 500 miles south. A second layer will get you 500 MORE miles south. After two layers you start to get negative affects with the suns rays (or something like that). I live about smack dab in the center of the great 48. One thousand miles puts me DEEP into TEXAS. Sounded good to me!
EPVC (that’s the gray PVC that is used a lot of electric work and stands up better to the sun than that ‘white stuff’).
My cinder block beds offered me the perfect opportunity to make a serviceable hoop. The beds are 4ft wide with 28 inches between the beds. Distance between was based on minimum width for getting my garden carts in and yet not wasting precious growing space. Two beds running parallel allowed me the privilege of gluing two 10ft lengths of 1 inch EPVC together, sticking into the outside ‘holes in the cinder blocks’ on one bed and bending it over the two beds and into the holes in the outside cinder blocks on the sister bed. Such a lovely arch. Beauty in the raw! (Why does this make me think of the Roman Empire??? LOL)
The inserted photo shows you the SHORT hoops or tunnels by taking 1/2 inch EPVC and using the same technique make hoops over each bed without covering the ‘lane’ between the beds. This allows me to provide that additional layer of protection (and 500 more miles south). Depending on the weather I can leave the ‘inner hoop’ pulled back at my option. NOTE: A close look will tell you that the covering on the short hoop is not Poly Sheeting. It is an insect netting I was using to keep the dreaded white cabbage moth off my precious cabbage. You see the Poly Sheeting shortly before removal for Spring/Summer.
NOTE: I have started saving seeds from my own heirloom plants. Plants start to ‘climate adapt’ to you own special ‘micro climate’. Collecting your own seeds and planting them each year brings you hardier and more ‘climate’ acclimated plants. You might like to read Seed to Seed by Suzanne Ashworth, or another book on seed saving and storage. (4/17/20)
True enough . . . my hoops will not win a beauty contest. BUT THEY WORK. My first year hoop was literally thrown together in 2 hours with a freeze bearing down on us and the dark of night heavy on our shoulders. BUT, we (that heavy lifting son-in-law of mine) got it done and the kale, chard and beets that were already in the beds were all preserved for the winter.
What amazes me is that God built the realm of possibilities into the heart of creation. All of this in the dead of Winter. It makes me absolutely giddy. No pests to fight. VERY LITTLE watering to be done. So little care and the hoop garden just pours it’s heart out to you.
January 16, 2020 / 32˚ – harvested kale and chard.
My two broccoli plants are making nice heads and the Savory Cabbage is ready to harvest. I just love looking at it so much I don’t have the heart to cut it just yet.
Just have to do a shout out to Creation. It amazes me that when God create everything the possibility for me (and you) to grow fresh veggies all year (all winter) long was designed within. Building a garden bed is ‘nothing’. The Force that makes it happen is Everything!
Would you believe these lovely Snow Peas were harvested on 4/14/2020! We have been harvesting peas from the hoop for over a month now. Note the Thyme and Chives, all THRIVING in the hoop. (note to self: you REALLY need to be keeping track of planting and harvesting dates!)