This is our weather forecast this week and I want to plant something…
Plant now? I want to sooo badly! But I figure that if I plant the seedlings now, it will snow next week. This is Murphy’s Law in Central New York. So, I will take advantage of these gorgeous early Spring days and finish prepping the raised beds. I still have 2 beds that I never cleaned out last fall. Yes, I know I should have done it then, but too many other things came up. Before I could get out there the snow accumulated and I decided it could wait until a nice winter day. Nope. Never happened. Think of cleaning them out in the fall like putting away the holiday decorations. You hate to do it, but you will get really tired of seeing pine needles on the floor and Santa on the mantle by February. Yes, I’ve done that, too.
My aha! moment.
I keep thinking that if I only had a greenhouse, I could start planting early. I could at least plant in large pots. Now I realize what I need is a cold frame or a hoop house to protect plants from cold weather and frost. So, I have decided to turn two beds into hoop houses. When I get them done I can start planting!
I’ll post pictures when I’m finished, but for now I need to run to Lowes for some supplies. Be back soon…
3 hours later…
Ok, I’m back. What is it about the garden centers at Lowes and Home Depot that makes me feel like a kid in a candy store. I have the supplies needed, plus a couple extra items: A 30 pound bag of larger white landscape rocks called Caribbean river rocks…3″ to 5″ rounded, smooth and kind of flat, like they came out of a river. They will be my next craft project. I am also the excited owner of a small “Chicago” hardy fig tree that will be planted in the flower garden. Right now it’s 8″ tall, but it is healthy, has 2 leaves and the sleeve says it’s hardy to -20°. For $9.99 I’ll take my chances. I love figs.
Back to the topic…
Now back to the supplies I purchased, or maybe I should explain what a hoop house is first. Picture the billowy white cloth top of an old covered wagon crossing the plains. Now put that cloth top over a 4’x8′ raised bed, remove the cloth and replace it with a 3.5 mil clear plastic sheet. That is pretty much it.
The hoops to support the plastic will be formed from 1/2″ conduit. The ends will slide into short pieces of 3/4″ pvc pipe that will be screwed into the inside corners of the beds, and in the middle of the long sides. The top of the hoops will be fastened to an 8′ length of 1×2 with clamps to provide stability. Then, the whole thing will be covered in plastic, creating a greenhouse of sorts. This will keep the plants warmer on cold days, and protect them from snow or frost. i.e. I can plant early!
- 6 10ft lengths of electrical conduit (3 per bed)
- 2 8ft 1×2’s (1 per bed)
- 1 bag of 3/4″ pipe straps
- 1 bag of 1/2″ pipe straps
- 2 8′ lengths of 3/4″ pvc pipe (cut into 1ft sections)
I will update this with pictures soon!
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