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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Daring Spring with Low Tunnels

I've always wanted to try winter gardening, but when it is 0*F at night and in the teens during the day, I don't want to be outside any more than the plants do!  And thus, another reason I am delighted to have returned to The South!  Dipping into the teens at night, and barely above freezing this week - but 32*F I can do.  Time to build my first low tunnel "mini-greenhouse."

The Plan

Build two low tunnels for two of my beds.  Each bed is about 3 foot wide and 6 foot long.  These beds are next door to each other.  As for what to plant, I'm going to keep it simple and plant peas, spinach, lettuce, and bok choi.



The Materials & Equipment

The following materials list is for one 6 foot low tunnel
  • 6 - 2 ft pieces of rebar
  • 3 - 10 ft pieces of 3/4 in "schedule 40" pvc pipe cut to 7 ft lengths
  • 10 ft x 12 ft row cover material (extra amounts to bury sides and gather ends)

The Build

1. Drive 2 ft pieces of rebar 1 foot or so into the ground (preferably when ground is not already frozen).  Some people recommended at a slight outward cant; however, I chose to put them in as straight as possible, thinking this might be more successful in frozen ground.  I put one piece of rebar at each corner of the bed, and one on each side.

2. Bend the pipes and insert them over the rebar. 

3. Cover with row cover.



It is January as I write this, and, of course, late January and February are our cold and ice storm months, so I may have to repeat sowing a few times before I get something to eat - but the scientist (or the kid) in me loves to experiment. Crossing my fingers!  Still can't believe that I am sowing seeds in January.

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