Extending the Harvest, Hoop House Style

We aren't ones to fuss over a front yard full of lush grass. We're the type of folks who put raised beds in and grow lettuce! Late season lettuce is the sweetest, because when it gets cold the plant releases its own version of antifreeze: sugar! To get in on this sweet goodness we decided to build a small hoop house in the front yard. We filled it with compost from last year's fall leaves and to our surprise, no fewer than a dozen tomato plants sprouted (I'd been throwing garden scraps in there all summer, too) as well as two zucchini plants. Sadly, I don't think they'll last the winter, but how cool would a tomato be in December if they did?

We went to the local hardware store and got some PVC tubing, and used some plastic we'd gotten last winter but never used. We also used some zip ties to hold it all in place. And inside there are 2-liter bottles filled with water and spray painted black to try to capture some thermal mass. We haven't seen much of an improvement with the bottles, but it's already so much warmer in there that it doesn't really matter. We also splurged a little and got some metal clips to hold the ends down of the plastic. Without the clips (since they're optional) I think we spent like, ten dollars? Maybe twelve or thirteen with the seed?  Not bad!

"Hoop house" - a tiny greenhouse made of arched tubing and plastic sheets

Seedlings and black soda bottles inside hoop house

Small plants growing inside hoop house

A man kneels at the edge of the hoop house, showing green leaves to a gray cat.

A crosspost article from my blog from October of last year. 

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