Extending the gardening season with row covers is a practical way to provide yourself with fresh produce on both ends of the season-early and late. Whether you are itching to get out there and get a jump on the season or wish to put a cover over salad greens to protect them from frost, there are various row covers and low tunnel products available to help do just that. You don’t have to fork over a lot of cash to get a low tunnel quickly set up in the garden.
Those plastic hula hoops we all played with as children make dandy arches for a low tunnel. This project is easy for anyone and requires few tools. With the resurgence of “hooping” the necessary items are readily available.
- (5) 2′ -3’ lengths of rebar available at a building supply center
- 1 hula hoop
- Polyethylene sheeting
- Duct tape
- PVC pipe (small diameter), broom handles, anything that can be used to span the distance and provide support
- Logs, cement blocks or boards for weights
Determine the width of the row and pound 2 pieces of rebar into the ground about 10” deep on either side of the row. Measure the PVC pipe/support. Use that measurement to calculate the distance to the next pair of rebar supports. Pound that pair in on each side of the row. Cut the hula hoop in half. Take one half and push the open ends down over the rebar forming an arch. Repeat with the other half.
Set the pole/pipe on top of the arch. Tape securely. Pound the 5th piece of rebar under the pipe about midway down the row and tape the rebar to the pipe. Cut a piece of polyethylene long enough to completely cover the hoop and the ends. Make sure it’s wide enough to be securely weighted on both sides and the ends. Use cement blocks, long pieces of wood or whatever is handy to keep firmly weighted down.
Monitor the hoop and uncover during fair days or the plants inside will overheat and die.
How do you extend season?
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