I put up a hoop house late last year in our unused driveway. It’s going to be great for the microgreens I take to market, but right now it’s empty, except for my tables, a row-cover tent on one table and a temperature sensor under the double covering.
Of course, I also know that a hoop house can extend the growing season for everything else. I’m just not sure exactly how much.
My trouble is figuring out how long to hold off before starting the rest of my cool weather crops. I have done the countdown and it suggests that I could, in fact, start now – last frost here is April 15. But, do I do the ordinary 8-week countdown, or does the availability of a double covering give me the luxury of starting some things even sooner?
My eagerness to use my hoop house is driven by the eye-popping temperature readings when the hoop house is in full sun: 77 degrees on a day when it was 25 outside, 59 degrees on Friday when it was 10, etc. The idea I had was starting seeds (I use soil blocks) indoors, give them grow light time and then, to make room for other things, shuttle them out to the hoop house until they can go in the ground.
Well, that was the hope, anyway – what’s the reality? Thanks.
I love Eliot Coleman and Barbara Damrosch of Four Season Farm in Maine – both prolific garden writers/authors as well — for their approach to hoop houses and other season-extending devices. Definitely search around their site and links and so on.