Green Right Now Reports

Don’t get caught without greens this winter. Build a hoop garden while there’s still time.

Hoop HouseA hoop garden, if you haven’t heard, is a sort of jerry-rigged, poor man’s greenhouse. It’s generally constructed of PVC pipe (not the greenest material, but flexible) and covered with a plastic drop cloth. It protects your tender shoots from the cold fall and winter winds and temperatures, because when all closed up, it’s a little hot house. In fact it can get too hot, though right now our concern is keeping plants warm.

We’re hot for hoop houses because you need few skills to build one, and once you do you can pull root veggies and leafies out all winter long. Even people with just a patio to plant on can build a mini-hoop house and grow container plants within it.

So…start with a garden bed, raised or in the ground, that is ideally about four feet wide and about eight feet long. (Remember, you’ll need to be able to reach, lean or crawl inside to water and pluck the vegetables.)

Now we’ll cede to the experts, who’ve made videos showing their techniques. We don’t want our garden to pop out of the ground or collapse, so listen.

First, here’s a fellow from Virginia, Howard Shifflet. We like his style because he’s found an easy way to weight the plastic cover.

Watch and you’ll see. (OK, we’ll tell: He has stapled a 2×4 board to the edges of the plastic all along the long side, perfect for holding it in place.)

We also adore Shifflet’s lack of pretension.

Here’s another instructional from Dave Epstein, a Maine meterologist whose blog “Growing Wisdom” offers a lot of ideas about growing things. We like this piece because he shows us how to make a hoop house you can walk into, and reveals that you can buy a zipper for your hothouse! We didn’t know.