Hoop Houses

Last year, the cold weather rolled in but my garden was still producing, so I decided to make a hoop house to cover the raised beds that I wanted to save.

It was really simple since I had the wood already in place in the raised beds.

Basically, I bought some 1″ galvanized plumbing pipe straps, some 1″ black irrigation plastic pipe, and cut the pipe equal lengths. Then, I attached the pipe straps to the wood and inserted the plastic pipe.  Last, I added a layer of 6 mil plastic and voila!  A hoop house.

Normally, hoop houses are great for growing through most of the winter as long as the thermometer doesn’t dip too low.  However, you do have to WATER inside, and not just expect the condensate to drip down on the plants.  Why is that in capitals?  Because some of us forgot to do that last year. . .

Not this year, though!  I am getting more prepared than ever for the winter gardening season.  Did you know there are lots of things that will grow and can be harvested in the winter/early spring when started in October and even November and beyond?  Mostly cold hardy greens, but carrots, turnips, radishes, broccoli, beets and a whole list of other veggies do well too.

Now you might notice that in the picture, there is some wooden bracing.  That’s new this year, because last year, the first year, when it snowed I rushed out and brushed it off with a broom so it wouldn’t cave in the hoop house.  That worked for a couple weeks and then we had a BIG snow that piled up through the night faster than I could brush it off.

The weight of the snow bent the hoops every which way. By the time I got up and started shoveling it off, it had solidified. Later it melted, and I braced it from the top, but then another snow collapsed the whole thing.

I’m hoping that this year the bracing will be less likely to cave and will hold some weight until I am able to brush it off.  I hope the house will stand all the way through the winter.  I also hope the hose doesn’t freeze up so I have to cart water back and forth from the kitchen sink.  Last but not least, I hope I am able to grow enough veggies to make it worth it.

Today I planted some herbs and peas and salad greens and radishes.  I already have some collard greens and beets for beet greens and broccoli growing.  Tomorrow, hopefully, I’ll get the other half of the hoop house planted and maybe even start to get the plastic over.  Then I’ll take another picture and add it to this post.

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