How to Build a Simple Low Tunnel

season extension hoop 2.jpgExtending the growing season on both ends, spring and fall, means a lot more fresh eating and a lot less canning/freezing of produce. With the addition of a bed cover inside the hoop, salad greens can be harvested throughout the winter even in Northern Michigan.

This low tunnel was added in late March to warm the soil for early peppers. It was very easy for a short, 62 year-old woman with a bad back to build. The one pictured is spanning six feet, so there are 2 beds under its protection. Rebar pounded into the ground is securing the PVC hoops. The PVC pipes in the photo are 10′ long and spaced about 4 1/2′ apart since this is a temporary spring time hoop. If this was a tunnel meant to go through the winter and handle a snow load, the hoops would be closer together with a stabilizing pipe secured along the top.

Materials

  • Builder’s plastic
  • Rebar cut to the length you prefer
  • 1/2″ PVC pipe
  • Scrap lumber, cement blocks etc to weigh the plastic down

Brief How To

  1. Decide on the height you want and cut the rebar accordingly. Remember that you will pound the rebar into the ground about 1″ in firm soil. If your soil is loose, you may need to pound it in further.
  2. Pound the rebar into the ground on both sides of the bed. Put one end of the PVC pipe down over the rebar so the rebar fits inside. Do the same for the other side.
  3. Continue step two down the length of the bed. A piece of PVC pipe can be attached on top of the hoops to give stability.
  4. I’m not the best at measuring and figuring how much extra is needed, so I opened the plastic and spread it over the hoop before cutting.
  5. Hold the plastic in place on the sides, front and back with whatever you have lying around. I used old fence posts.

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