Last month I built my first hoop houses. I’ve meant to do this every year to continue growing something. But either I was just too busy with the start of the school year or too worn out from a hectic growing system. This season I planted less and and the mild summer made for an uncommon harvest. Maybe I was more focused and not overwhelmed this year. Although the the zucchini and squash certainly gave me a run for my money.
But this was the year I was determined to put the hoop houses up. A hoop house creates a small high tunnel or green house trapping the heat and recycling the moisture much like a large terrarium.
And it was surprisingly simple. I think the biggest obstacle in putting them up was remembering to get the supplies I needed: a large roll of thick white plastic and long sections of PVC pipe. All of my gardens are in boxed beds which created the initial foundation for the pipe supports. I simply stuck one end of the pips into the corner of the box and gently bent the other end to the corresponding corner. I was worried that the sharp curve would break the PVC but they conformed very easily.
Each bed is around 4×10-12 feet. I spaced 4 hoops evenly along the beds. You will want to make sure that the pipe is pushed down as far as you can get it and press the dirt back in around with your foot so that the pipe won’t loosen itself over time.
The hardest part was positioning the plastic. I jumped into the project all by myself. There wasn’t another soul at the house so int he future having another hand would be a big bonus. And I needed to have larger clamps for securing the plastic. They are currently still being held in place with clothespins on the ends and small logs from the wood pile holding down the sides. But It’s working for now and with my track record the larger clamps probably won’t materialize until I do this again next year.
My spinach is doing nicely. The peppers and eggplants that I had left did well until the temps dropped below 20*. Next year I want to plant more greens like collards and mustard and chard.
As most of my ventures with the garden or with cooking or with pretty much anything, just get out there and try it. Don’t expect things to be perfect the first time and don’t expect to succeed. And let yourself get bogged down in making things look perfect. Sometimes you just learn so much from the process.