The nights are getting colder. We have yet to experience our first frost this fall but I anticipate that it will happen soon. To give my fall garden some added warmth throughout the day and extra protection at night, I’ve erected two hoop houses over two of the raised garden beds. I had installed one hoop house over the tomato bed in the early spring and it worked well so it’s my hope that these hoop houses will help extend the growing season.
Making a hoop house over a raised garden bed is straightforward. Even I can do it and I wouldn’t consider myself to be particularly handy with tools.
Materials + Equipment
1/2″ PVC pipes (6 to 8 feet long)
3/4″ EMT straps, metal
1/2″ PVC bands, plastic
Row cover material
Measuring tape + pencil
Drill, fitted with the correct bit
All the materials, except the fabric, can be purchased at a hardware store like the Home Depot or Rona. Row cover material, also know as reemay or white garden fabric, can be purchased in bulk at garden centers such as Art Knapps. Try to find fabric that is five feet wide and at least five feet longer than the length of your garden bed.
To help you figure out how much of the material you will need here is an example: Our garden beds are 16 feet long. In each bed we used 12 – 3/4″ EMT straps, 6 – 1/2″ PVC pipes, 8 – 1/2″ PVC straps and a 20 foot by 5 foot piece or row cover. We placed the EMT straps 6 inches from the ends and spaced them 3 feet apart.
Using the measuring tape and pencil mark out the location of the EMT straps. I prefer placing the straps on the inside of the bed because it looks better. Also, the soil helps to hold the pipe in place which means you only need one strap for each side of the pipe.
Start by marking out the strap locations on the end of the garden bed. Place two straps 4 to 6 inches away from each end of the bed. Space the remaining straps 2.5 to 3 feet apart making sure they line up with the straps on the other side.
Using 1/2″ screws, screw the EMT straps into place making them level with the edge of the bed. I place the strap about 2 inches down from the top of the wood.
Take a PVC pipe and push in through a set of straps and down into the soil. Depending on the depth of the raised garden bed and the length of the PVC pipes you may need to cut the pipe shorter. A hacksaw works well to cut the pipe down.
Install the rest of the pipes, adjusting the height by pushing the pipe further down into the soil or hacking off a piece.
Cover the hoops with the row cover fabric.
Use the 1/2 inch PVC straps to keep the fabric in place by placing the straps over the fabric near the base of each pipe. Use some rocks or bricks to weigh down the end of the fabric down.