Your Fall Garden: Make a Hoop House to Extend Your Growing Season

Don’t give up on your garden yet. It is still possible to have a great harvest for the rest of the year. You can easily extend your gardening season and grow more veggies longer when you use a hoop house.

When the heat is on outside, and you are spending your days sweating in your garden, it can be hard to think of frost, snow, and more. However, all good things come to an end, including summer’s heat and sun. However, that doesn’t have to mean the end of your garden and harvest for your family. It’s not hard to extend your growing season, either.

First, you need is to determine when you first frost date is. You can do this by going here and selecting your state and region. This will give you an idea of how long you have before frost, and when you should start your fall garden for a good harvest. You will want to plant at least 3-5 weeks before your first frost expected date. Some vegetables that are frost hardy to consider planting:

  • spinach
  • kale
  • radishes
  • brussels sprouts
  • beets
  • broccoli
  • cabbage
  • carrots
  • cauliflower
  • celery
  • collards
  • green onions
  • leafy lettuces
  • leeks
  • mustard greens
  • parsnips
  • rutabagas
  • swiss chard
  • parsnips
  • some peas

These vegetables can handle temperatures to 15 degrees Fahrenheit, and some are even sweeter when they have experienced a light frost, such as brussels. You can also prolong your growing season of warm season vegetables by providing a cover for your garden. You can also use these in the early Spring to give you a jump start on your growing season for the Summer.

Some quick methods to use to protect your plants:

  • throw and old sheet or blanket over the plants to cover them, adding bricks on the sides to keep frost out
  • use a “wall o water” around plants to protect stems and roots from frost
  • use plastic row covers to help provide easy access as well as protection.
  • make a cheap hoop house

We made a “hoop house” out of PVC pipe and 3mm plastic to help extend our growing season a bit. Here’s how we did it for under $60:

  1. Start with 3 boards that are 2x8x12, making a rectangle out them.
  2. Line up two rectangles up side by side, about 6 inches apart
  3. Drill 3 3/4″ holes on the far sides.
  4. Place 3/4 inch PVC pipe into the holes, bending into a semi-circle.
  5. Attach a length of PVC pipe across the hoops to provide support. You can either drill a hole and use a screw to hold it into place, or you can attach with zip ties.
  6. In the painting section of your local home supply store, look for 3mm plastic to cover the hoop frame with. This will be the most expensive part, and was $40.
  7. Be sure to tuck the edges in, and hold down with either dirt on 2 sides or use cloth and bricks to keep the plastic level with the ground. This will keep frost out.

You can use this for Spring and early Fall planting. When the temps get high, you can roll the plastic back to allow the plants to get air, and even remove the hoops and store for the next season.

What are you planting this fall? Be sure to pin this for later!

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