With the warm March we have all been excited about getting out into the garden. I have to constantly remind myself that it is not yet Spring, and we have two more months of frost and freeze.
Enter the hoop house, a way to get an early start and fulfill the urge to garden. B and I talked about it for a couple weeks, and then today, given the fact that it was in the 50’s, all the snow was gone, and it wasn’t too muddy we decided to build it.
The supplies: 4- 10 ft 3/4 inch PVC tubing, 1 roll of plastic sheeting ( our roll was 30 feet, and we found it on clearance at an odd lot store), 8- 3/4 inch two hold straps, roofing nails (we didn’t have any short screws), a hammer, a pair of scissors, a staple gun with staples, and something like more tubing, twine, or small branches as a cross bar to support the hoops. We used some old pipes from a defunct green house and some zip ties to fasten them. Oh- and a raised bed.
Our raised bed is just over eight feet long. We marked at 1, 3,5,and 7 feet on both sides. Then we used those marks as our guide to nail the straps.
We debated for a while whether to put the straps on the inside or the outside, as we have seen them both ways, but decided outside would work for us. Once the the straps are on slide one end of the pvc tube through one strap, pushing it slightly into the ground. Then bend the tube and slide it through the strap that’s parallel.
Once the tubing is in place it is time to attach the cross bar support. We took smallish pipes and attached them with two zip ties at each hoop. You could use basically anything you could get your hands on. We had also considered a broken tent pole for the job.
Now that the support is in place it is time for the plastic. You will want to have an idea which way the wind is blowing as you unroll the plastic sheeting. Originally, we had wanted to put grommets in the plastic like a tarp so we could weave the tubing through it, but we couldn’t find anything big enough, plus that would have taken a long time.
Pull the plastic over the hoops and make sure all four side are completely covered. We made sure there was at least 6 inches over hang on each side. Then we got out the staple gun and wen to town on 2 sides. There are no pictures of this because it is a two person job, especially when it is windy out. Why only two sides? Well, the soil was still frozen and we needed to add more before we planted. We will also have to plant the seeds. Once those are done we may add a couple more staples, but you will need to leave at least one short side completely loose for ventilation and access to the food you’re growing.
How tall is it you ask? Well, it is big enough for a preschooler to walk around comfortably, and there is enough space on the two sides that she was able to crawl in and out multiple times.
In all the supplies (not including our existing raised bed and the things we had laying around, like nails and staples) cost us around $30.00. It took around half an hour to put together, even with gusty winds and a three year old “helping.” Hopefully, we will be planting in it next weekend, and soon will be getting some early greens. Yum!