so here at house ma decided to install the quick hoop idea for the winter garden over the winter onions and leeks. at work i decided to cover spinach to over winter and that i would do a better job of documenting it.
step 1. buy 1/2 inch pvc electrical conduit – i admit to getting it from one of those big box stores – i’m not proud but it was cheap, 48 cents a piece, that ends up being a little over 10 dollars worth of conduit to cover 600 square feet.
step 2. cut the female end off the electrical conduit
i was able to line up several of these on a table top clamp them down with a cinder block and cut them all at once. i used a circular saw with a fine toothed blade – seemed to work pretty well, but a reciprocating saw might be a better choice if for no other reason than their blades being much more affordable to replace if plastic conduit melts all over your blade. ewww!
3. stick them in the ground
– ma decide to put them at 5 foot spacing, she said mr. coleman said that in snowy climates he might put them at 4 foot spacings, but since he does 5 foot spacings in maine, i figured we were plenty safe. mr. coleman, when he was here demoing in the garden that has been getting lots of love for the last 12 years was able to just shove them in the ground. not so easy in the garden we just started this summer, i think when we tried to shove them in we were able to go maybe a half inch. luckily we had been loaned this spike thing which i think is used for irrigating trees – put works pretty well for making deep skinny holes. it was still hard work.
once one end is shoved in the ground, you make a hole on the other side and shove it in, making a hoop. this is covering two 30 inch wide beds with a 12 inch path way – at least that’s what it’s supposed to be – someone may have gotten a little heavy-handed with the wheelhoe and made it so we have more like 18 inch beds and a 24 inch path way, but lets not get bogged down in that. it has occurred to me that one could till up the pathway and then plant that right before putting the quick hoops in since you aren’t going to be wanting to walk on pathways till spring. i’m not sure what would work for that – not something that would take too long – maybe mache transplants.
this photo really shows off how crooked the beds are – but i think it will be fine.
step 4 cover them
pull the row cover over the hoops – if you should care – this is the 10 foot wide agribond 19 that had a staring role in the high tunnel a couple of weeks ago. while i’d rather my row cover not advertise itself by having its brand printed right down the middle, it does serve a purpose – you can use that to gauge where the middle of the row cover is, as long as you keep the word agribond on the middle of the hoops, you know you have it centered and even amounts of row cover on either side. i secure well with bricks preferring this to covering it with soil as it makes the row cover last longer and makes access and venting much easier. i’d like to get some small sandbags to hold the row cover down, but that’s a future purchase. i apply a rock/brick at each hoop, and a couple at the ends to keep it all nice and tight. it’s much easier with 2 people as you can keep pulling tight the whole time. if you do it by yourself you can be assured you will need to come back and tighten up some slack parts.
in another few weeks when we start getting some really cold weather and mostly overcast days i’ll add a sheet of plastic to the whole thing for the rest of the winter for added protection. – special thanks to carolyn for modeling.