Your outdoor plants might need a little extra warmth when the chilly winter weather arrives, and a row cover hoop house could be the perfect solution.
A frost blanket or floating row cover can protect your garden from frigid winds and cold night air. You could simply drape one directly on top of the vegetation, but the plants will be better insulated if they’re enclosed under a hoop house.
Building a hoop house is a simple weekend project that can make a real difference to your outdoor plants – here’s how to get the job done.
Gather the Hoop House Supplies
All you need to make a row cover hoop house are a few inexpensive supplies. Visit Millcreek Gardens and your local hardware store and purchase the following items:
- 7 lengths of flexible 1” x 10’ PVC pipe
- 12 rebar stakes measuring ½” x 1’ or ½” x 18”
- 15 to 20 bricks or pavers
- Medium or heavyweight frost blankets or row cover material
- Twine or twist ties
The quantities listed are for a garden bed that measures 12 feet in length. If yours is longer, you may need additional PVC pipe, rebar stakes and row cover material to adequately cover your outdoor plants.
Make sure you have a hammer and either a PVC pipe cutter or hacksaw on hand, and you’ll be ready to tackle the project.
Build the Hoop House Frame
Begin by placing the rebar stakes. Position a post at each end, then put one about every two feet along one edge of the garden bed. Repeat on the other side, placing the stakes directly opposite. Pound them into the ground, leaving several inches showing.
Next, slip lengths of PVC pipe over each stake and gently bend them over to create arcs or hoops over to the opposite stakes. Depending upon the width of the garden bed, you may need to cut the pipes down in size to fit well.
For extra support, position a length of PVC pipe along the top, securing it to the hoops with twine or twist ties.
Cover the Outdoor Plants
Now, all that’s left is to put the row cover fabric or frost blankets in place. Drape the material over the hoop structure to cover your outdoor plants, making sure to leave extra on the ground at all sides of the garden bed.
Use your bricks or pavers to secure the fabric all around the hoop house, and you’re done. When warm weather returns, simply remove the covering and store it in your garage or garden shed for next year.
Want more tips on maintaining and protecting outdoor plants? The friendly Millcreek Gardens staff, Utah’s leading garden center, can offer expert gardening advice to keep your flowers, trees, shrubs, herbs, fruits and vegetables healthy and strong. For more information on caring for indoor or outdoor plants, visit us in Salt Lake City today.