Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Hoopin' it Up

The greenhouse that I salvaged last year finally died. So we were faced with the decision to buy something that's going to die again or go for a different system. We went for the new system.

Turns out this new system is way cheaper and will probably last a lot longer.

So grandma Kathy was called to babysit and garden season 2014 commenced. (Better late than never, huh?)

I've always wanted to build a hoop house since it is like a greenhouse for plants that are already in the ground. This gives plants like tomatoes and peppers a chance in our cooler, shorter summers. Also, early in the season, it can be used as a greenhouse for starting seeds.

Here was our supply list:
*10ft 1/2 inch pvc piping (x4)
*PVC clamps (x8)
*Screws (x8)
*Garden cloth (10ft x 12ft)
*Random bits of long wood (two 8 ft poles-worth. 2x2's or crown molding works great.)
*A few bricks (or other heavy items to keep the sides down)
*Some clothes pins or other pinchy things to close the ends
*Staple gun
*Screw driver

I think we spent about $25-$30 on the supplies to cover a 4ft by 8ft area of one of our garden boxes.

The building part was a cinch. First we stuck the two ends of each PVC pipe into the edges of the garden box and secured them to the sides with the clamps and screws. Then I scrounged my wood pile and found some old pieces of trellis and wrapped the edges if the garden cloth around them and stapled them down. This makes it easier for one person to cover the hoop house on a windy day because they act as a bit of a weight and pulls the whole cloth over at once. I also put a few bricks down on top of the wood to really secure it. Then I gathered the cloth at each end and closed them up with some clothes pins. We chose to go with the cloth over clear plastic because plastic is gross and the cloth also breathes just a little bit, which results in not as much heat being trapped in. This also prevents overheating when we forget to open it up on a hot summer day, which I have been known to do.

and closed.
Keeping the seeds (and Gus) warm.
I plan on putting my peppers, eggplant, and tomato plants in here. (Once I get my hands on some starts...)

Oh, and we finally were able to harvest some chicken shit compost. My dad and Shawn did some heavy digging in the compost pile and harvested about two garbage can fulls of super compost which was filled with worms (which the chickens enjoyed immensely. Sorry worms.) A nice layer of it was turned into the soil, so I have high hopes for our harvest this year.
I've also seeded for kale, bok choy, peas, cilantro, and potatoes, all under a another sheet of the garden cloth. It works great to keep the soil just warm enough to speed up germination. I still have a lot more to plant. Even though I'm home all day, it's really hard to find the time to go out and work in the garden without a babysitter because it turns out babies don't really like to be put down, and wearing a baby on the front makes bending down to plant stuff really difficult.

Hopefully I haven't started all this too late in the season.

Finally, here's Eddy enjoying the fresh air while we were working. Seriously. Adorbs. Totes cray-cray adorbs.

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