Low Hoop Tunnels in Autumn

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Prepping the Vegetable Garden for Winter

Don't mind X there, she's just sad 'cos she thinks autumn means gardening is over, but she's WRONG.

Prepping the Vegetable Garden for Winter
Prepping the Vegetable Garden for Winter

No snow is keeping us out of the garden! 'Started some garden clean-up, but only really got as far as harvesting the rest of the winter squash and removing 90% of the pole beans before some cold snaps (like, down to 17 degrees) meant I needed to get the hoop tunnels up. I generally follow these "How to Build a Low Tunnel to Protect Plants from Frost" instructions from GrowOrganic. I really like their suggestion of placing a PVC pipe into a sleeve of the heavy-weight garden fabric. Only improvement I would make is to place PVC ribs closer than every 5 feet, and maybe add an extra foot or two onto the excess garden farbic, to make closing up even easier. I combine those instructions with these from SavvyGardening and end up with an added 'spine' PVC pipe across the top, secured with U-bolts.

U-bolt to keep the low hoop tunnel spine secured
Low hoop tunnel rib secured over rebar

Here's the PVC pipes in the sleeve I sewed into the fabric. It made venting so much easier, I added sleeves to all my row covers! The instructions say to use 6" for the sleeve, but my 1/2" PVC pipes could make 4.5" (folded in half) work.

PVC pipe in garden fabric sleeve for easy open/close
Securing low hoop tunnel fabric with bricks, etc.

We've gone through a couple snows already, sometimes coming out better than others. I think I've finally figured out how to use my snap-on pipe clamps to properly secure the ends of the fabric so they don't blow open in the wind tunnel that is our backyard. I have to secure them a little higher up on the rib-pipes than I like, but by folding over the excess fabric to one side and securing with the clamp, it seems to work alright. Last year I had two smaller low hoop tunnels and they worked out quite fine. They're a lot shorter, and thus, a lot less fuss than these tall 8' long PVC ribs. Still refining the design, think I need at least oen more rib in between the two ends to secure against the snow.

Prepping the Vegetable Garden for Winter
Prepping the Vegetable Garden for Winter

Everything's still alive! Even the little baby bok chois I planted in October! Kale, kohlrabi, arugula, mache, Swiss chard, and self-sown lettuce are looking happy, too. The heavy duty garden fabric only warms up by a handful of degrees, so it's unclear how we got through 17 degree nights with no damage - except for the fact that the plants were chosen for the cold weather I added a 3mil painters' plastic drop cloth on top to the whole set-up for extra insulation.

Prepping the Vegetable Garden for Winter
Prepping the Vegetable Garden for Winter

1 comments:

rooth said...

Oh my goodness look at that snow already! We're in the high 70s here, although we've already brought all of our plants inside

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