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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Mini Hoop Tunnels in Summer

The Evers late spring garden!
What do you do with your mini hoop tunnels once the warm weather arrives? Well, you could take them down and store them until autumn. Or, you can turn them into warm season veggie factories! Heat loving crops like peppers, eggplant, melons and bush tomatoes can be sheltered under the plastic of your mini hoop tunnels to help boost productivity - especially in northern and short season climates. Just be sure to leave the ends of your tunnels open to allow for good air circulation and pollination - from wind or insects.

Plus, the plastic covering will have already ensured that your soil has heated up to the ideal temperature for planting these tender crops. If warm season veggie seedlings are planted in soil that is still cold, they will sulk (wouldn't you?!). If you don't use a mini hoop tunnel, you can place a sheet of black plastic on the bed for a week or two prior to planting, but leaving your winter/spring mini hoop tunnels in place does the same thing and is less work! :)

It's a gorgeous day today (going to be 3 C) and our day length is now above 10 hours of sunlight!! (10 hours and 4 minutes to be precise), so it's time to start sowing those cold season veggies in any empty areas of the cold frames.. tatsoi, mizuna and arugula today.. maybe I'll go crazy and even sow a bit of spinach!

If you want to ask me your year-round gardening question, I'll be at the Chapters in Bayers Lake this coming Saturday, Feb 11th from 2:30 to 4:30. Drop in and say hi, or get your copy of The Year Round Vegetable Gardener signed. (I'll try to be witty!)

Happy Gardening!

9 comments:

  1. The Evers hoops do look wonderful..maybe I will try eggplants just one more time!

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  2. I know Bren.. My gardening thoughts today are all about using my mini hoop tunnels to grow peppers and melons this year.. Doesn't it feel like spring today? :)

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  3. Is the Crystal Lemon cucumber at Halifax Seed the same as Lemon in your book?

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  4. Yes they are.. heirlooms often have a handful of names! :) And, there is another one called Crystal Apple cucumbers that are very similar to lemon, but have white spines on them vs black spines for the lemon cuke. Either way, they're exceptional!

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  5. I just discovered your blog and book today through a mutual favorite blog (A Growing Tradition). I just ordered your book and I'm looking forward to reading it.

    Our climate is just a bit too warm to leave the hoops up all year, but we do keep them on our melons for all but the hottest two months of the year. It gets them off to an early start and gets those last few melons to ripen in the fall.

    I'm glad to find another Year round gardening enthusiast!

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  6. Thanks for your comment Stoney Acres! I hope you enjoy it.. I'm super excited about my melons this summer.. I just got seed for the rare Montreal melon and also have a few seeds of authentic French melons. Mmmmmm!! :)

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  7. I went to the bookstore the last weekend and found and bought your fabulous book. I have been looking into buying a greenhouse so I can plant during the summer but now thanks to you I now have found a way to grow year round :D In your book there was a lovely white raised cold frame that I am going to try to replicate. My question to you is we have problems with raccoons in our bins every so often (as we live near ravine)and I really want to do a year round veggie garden, what is the best as I'd like to grow peppers, peas, lettuce, tomatoes, herbs, chives, turnip, carrots & onions in the summer? Should I do one big (5FT tall X 42" wide X 6 FT long) raised garden with a hoop tunnel with hinges and open during the day and close at night OR just take the risk of keeping it open?

    Thanks in advance,
    Georgina
    P.S by the way I have read it your book 5 times and always find something new :)

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  8. I may use these as SHADE hoops so we can get lettuce in the summer - too hot here....

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Please feel free to leave comments. I welcome your tips, questions, thoughts and ideas (and suggestions for new veggies to grow!)