Sunday, March 21, 2010

Hoop houses on the first day of SPRING

Crazy warm weather this past week, wonderful to be outdoors doing projects and gardening. We haven't had a drop of rain or snow in this part of New Brunswick for a month or so. I have never been able to till before the middle of april before, climate change is being so kind to me. So I've been building raised bed/hoop houses to get hardy plants out as soon as possible.

They are made of 2x6, 32" wide and 8 feet long with hoops made of 72"long scraps of pvc pipe, 3/4 or 1" diameter. At the Re-store I scored a great pile of large sheer curtains for a dollar apiece and sewed them into fitted covers to go over the pvc piping. That will keep the abominable little flea beetles off the plants they like to devour and also provide a bit of wind protection.

I've been saving cardboard to put between the rows to keep the weeds down.
The covers are held in place by 3" pieces of pvc pipe split end to end and pried open to use as a sort of clamp that snaps over the cloth and hoop.

A peek are rows of little chard plants set out in the first bed, with radish seeded in between. The flea beetles love radish leaves, so this year when the plants emerge, the bugs are out of luck.
At night I pull a strip of plastic over the rows to protect from freezing, altho the lettuces , spinach and chard in there can stand a bit of frost. If the temperature gets really low (what used to be normal) I can throw some old comforters over the top of the plastic.
Rain is coming tomorrow, so I can at last settle to some indoor work, knowing the whole garden is tilled and the first plants are growing. It just blows me away that its only March , here in zone 4b!