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Warming the soil – Make a hoop house!
I wanted to get a jump start on planting some vegetables and so I needed to warm the soil. The best way I could think of was to build a hoop house. I was surprised at how easy it was to erect the hoop house and relatively inexpensive.
Here are the supplies you need:
3/4 inch PVC pipes (about $3.00 apiece) I used 3. These come in 10 foot lengths
1/2 inch wide-12 inch metal stakes - "rebar stakes" (about $ .60 apiece) I used 6
4 or more Metal clamps ($2-3 apiece)
3 mil Clear Plastic sheeting ( about $15.00- and I have a lot to spare for other projects)
8 Heavy stones
Pound in the metal stakes at an angle, then place the PVC pipe over the stakes to make a hoop. The closer you put the stakes to each other, the taller the hoop house, but PVC has a limit to how much bend you can put on it before it will break. Trust me on this, I know from experience! My hoops are about 3 feet tall, the stakes are about 8 feet apart. I hooped a raised bed that measures 8x8 feet, using 3 PVC pipes.
Drape the poly sheeting over the hoops, clamp each corner down with the metal clamps. For the rest of the edges, I weighted them down with large stones - but you could use more clamps.
Add a thermometer to keep track of the temperatures inside. This weekend, my hoop house got very warm- about 85 degrees! I planted several seed tapes (see previous post about making your own seed tape) in the hoop house and watered them well. It shouldn't be long and I will have a green garden of carrots, beets, romaine and arugula!