The growing season of 2013 was a bust here in Atlanta’s zone 7b. Spring rains pounded our garden until puddles formed and vegetables rotted. Summer sun, was non existent. Heat loving tomatoes and okra refused to bloom. I’ve been depressed my friends, but like most stubborn farmers, I won’t give up. My pepper plants are just-now producing and I must extend their growing season.
Now that we’re entering the fall growing season I’ve decided to build a cold frame, which most folk call a “hoop house” I’ve decided to locate the house on top of my deck planter. From start to finish it was an hour investment and should allow me to extend the growing season until the green peppers develop.
Come spring, I will remove the pvc piping and store for later use.
(4) pvc pipes ½ inch in diameter. Note: number of pipes depend on growing area
(8) ¾ inch metal straps
(8) wood screws Note: the bag of straps I bought did not include screws
Christmas tree lights (serve as makeshift lighting)
Depending on the size you wish to cover, space the pipes far enough to support the lightweight plastic (mine are 34 inches apart).
Measure both sides of the frame then secure metal straps into the wood. Metal straps should be snug. Insert onepipe and bend to secure in place on the other side. Press pipe firmly in dirt.
Repeat until the bones of the frame are in place.
Sew vegetable seeds, or plant fall vegetables. Now here’s a trick. Outdoor Christmas tree lights provide both light and a nominal amount of warmth. Even though winter brings less sunlight, inside the plants will be warm and toasty in the light. Water soil then drape plastic sheeting over pipe.
You’ll notice there is no door on the frame. I secured the plastic on one side with dots of hot glue. Leaving the other side loose, I tuck the plastic into the frame.
As lettuce and peppers are ready peel the plastic back and harvest. For those who do not have an existing deck planter. First measure your garden area, then build a small frame using 2 by 4 or 2 by 8 lumber. Regardless of the size, I encourage you to grow your own winter vegetables.
Renea Winchester is an award-winning author. Her latest release,Mountain Memories is available exclusively to Kindle Customers. In 2014, Mercer University will release, Farming, Friends & Fried Bologna Sandwiches. Learn more about her at www.reneawinchester.com
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