I wanted to show you my new hoop house. It will be used to extend the season in both spring and fall. This fall I had green beans well into November. At present there is a broccoli plant starting to make a head, several kinds of lettuce almost ready to cut and spinach that was recently planted.
I do not know if the spinach will survive, being so young, but it is fun to experiment.
It has been stated that each layer of plastic moves you one more temperature zone to the south. We sit close to the line between zone 5 and 6. One layer of plastic will move me to the lower side of zone 6 and I can get to zone 7 with another layer inside the first. That would move me to the south part of Tennessee or Northern Alabama.
That’s exciting. As this is the first year I have not had time to test all this out, but I will keep you up on what’s happening.
Before the hoop house I used a cold frame, which anyone can put together. It is just a wooden box set into the ground about a foot. It is covered with some type of window. I used an old storm door on the last one.
You cannot grow veggies during the cold part of winter in our temperature zone, but you can get them up and going before the coldest part hits and harvest all winter.
I liked to plant several staggered planting of lettuce and spinach, so I could harvest the more mature plants during the winter and have others ready to start growing as soon as the sun was warm enough. Worked out great.
Another use for a cold frame is to start your own vegetable plants and flowers. The plants will sprout and grow earlier in the cold frame giving you a jump on spring with your own plants.
You need to time your plants for their tolerance of the cold weather, as it can get cold in the cold frame. And, you must watch for the plants that do not transplant well. For those I started in pots inside the cold frame.
This is a good, cheap, way to get started extending your growing season.
Steve “sitting by the wood stove” Wisley