Even though this past week has taken on the chill of fall, I'm not ready to give up on my harvest quite yet. There is still time in the garden and in the kitchen to put up goodies for winter. And lucky for me, I have a super-manly husband to complete a few “honey-do” tasks I have assigned for him in the garden.
One of which was to build me a few hoop houses over my raised beds.
About four weeks ago I planted a fall crop of lettuce, and while it is coming in wonderfully, I know that at the first taste of a frost, it will be wonderful lettuce no more. I need to protect these little beauties so that they can continue to grow!
Insert: Hoop house.
Not only will the hoop house raise the temperature in the bed, but it will also protect it at night from the chilly air.
Building it was relatively simple in theory. Although, some projects just look more simple on YouTube than they end up being.
First, “we” screwed in a few brackets spaced four feet apart…
…then “we” bent some 1″ pipe across…
…and then ran some boards down the “spine” of the hoop-house for extra stability. This step became important when we initially skipped it, and our end hoops bent over.
Here's the hard part: stretching the plastic across. Sure, it sounds easy enough. But it was windy yesterday…and we could barely get a few corners pinned down when the wind would pick it up again! So, we just decided instead of getting frustrated and wanting to throw rocks at the invisible wind, we would just attempt to secure the plastic after this raging breeze had passed.
When we are finally able to secure the plastic, we will be able to just clip it along the edge of the bed with clothespins. In theory.
Side-note: While we were at Lowe's picking up a few of the supplies to complete our hoop house…I insisted that we look at the ceiling fans which we've been needing to purchase for approximately two years…and we found one…and I whined…and we bought it…which we shouldn't have…but we did. And it's AWESOME. Sometimes, you just gotta live on the edge and buy ceiling fans. I love it!!!!
Anyway…back to the garden…
I'm planning on covering four of five beds…heck, maybe I'll cover all of them. These hoop houses will be wonderful to have in the spring! They will make a significant difference in the overall temperature of the soil. Plus, they will protect my tender seedlings from wind, rain, and stupid cabbage moths.
I hate cabbage moths. Next year, every time I see one, I'm going to shot it with my 12 gauge. Overkill? Nah.
None-the-less, I am very excited at the prospect of these hoop houses. Maybe next year, I'll get more than 5 red tomatoes and 2 bell peppers. Note-to-self: In the wonderful short-seasoned pacific northwest, it maybe be smart to choose short-season varieties.
Wow. I'm, like, so smart.
I'll quit mourning my tomatoes now…the time has come to say goodbye. I'm letting them hang on for the last few days of sunshine, and then they will promptly be turned into a green-tomato-relish of sorts.
This next week, I will be digging up potatoes, onions, carrots, and beets to put them in the cellar for winter. After that, we have a few more eggplants, green beans, kale, herbs, and parsnips to harvest.
Oh! And if you're looking to start your garden next year…this is the perfect time to plant your garlic and shallots! So get that booty in gear!
I love the prospect of a new garden and lessons learned.
I love knowing that next year, I have a chance to wipe the slate clean.
I love knowing that next year, there is a chance I will harvest so many tomatoes, my head will explode!
Hey – a girl can dream, can't she?!
Happy fall gardening!