[Market-farming] Re: Row covers and hoops

pam at twinoaks.org pam at twinoaks.org
Sun Jan 26 19:46:38 EST 2003

I too have found that row cover floating on the plants 
is less likely to blow off than that on hoops. But hoops 
keep a nice balmy layer of air around the plants, which 
spinach and lettuce seem to appreciate. So I'm trying 
a double hoop system similar to that used in England 
with plastic. Make inner hoops of thick wire (9 gauge) 
with an eye at ground level on each side. (Bend the 
wire around a dowel). Then make outer hoops of 
thinner wire (22 gauge I think). Set the inner hoops in 
the ground every 6', put on the row cover and pull it 
tight and anchor the ends. Then thread the thin wire 
through the eye on one end of a thick hoop and bend 
it over. Make the outer hoop just a little smaller than 
the inner one and thread the second end through the 
eye at the opposite side. Yes, this is so much easier 
with two people! Just bend up the ends of the thin 
wire, out of harms way. Then weight down the 6' bays 
along the edges, with sticks or rocks. We found we 
needed twice as much weight as for covers without 
hoops, to stop the wind lifting up the covers. Another 
alternative is anchor pins or ground staples, but I hate 
to have sharp metal in the garden, or to make holes in 
the covers, so I don't do that.
	Then when the wind blows, the cover is trapped 
between the sets of hoops and won't fly up into the 
trees. It's not very windy here, so I don't gaurantee 
that this system would work everywhere......
	Anchoring the ends well is vital - keeping the 
cover taut helps the whole thing stay put. You could tie 
the end of the cover to a stake in the ground, or weight 
it very heavily. This system lets you take the weights 
off along one edge and push the cover up to the 
ridgeline of the hoops, for harvesting and weeding. It 
beats removing the whole lot, just to have to put it all 
back again.
	I'd be interested in other people's experiences 
with double hoops. I've seen pictures of two regular 
hoops criss-crossed, one inside and one out, but I 
think the hoops-with-eyes system is better than that. 
	Pam, Twin Oaks, Louisa, VA

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