Whether you're a season extension newcomer or an experienced veteran, you owe it to yourself to take a look at Quick Hoops™. Costing 1/20th the price of a hoophouse, Quick Hoops™ are the least expensive way to grow crops late in fall or early next spring, when the price is usually highest for something fresh and green in the marketplace.
Quick Hoops™ Materials:
• The Quick Hoops™ Bender from Johnny's lets you make smooth, strong hoops from 1/2" galvanized electrical conduit (EMT), which is available from most home improvement stores for about $2 per 10' length. Two sizes are available: a 4' bender makes hoops that cover one bed; a 6' bender makes hoops to cover two beds.
• When the hoops are erected in the field over a bed of vegetables, they can be covered with Agribon row cover for frost protection in fall. Snap Clamps make it easy to attach the row cover to the hoops. It should also be anchored at the base with sandbags or other heavy weights.
• For growing into the winter, the hoops can be covered with Tufflite III greenhouse poly. This creates, in effect, a mini-hoophouse that is able to maintain enough warmth for cold-hardy vegetables to survive most of the winter.
Quick Hoops™ Simple Set-Up Instructions:
1. Place hoops over crops or seed bed, every five feet, driving them in 10-12”. Depending on soil structure, a digging bar may be needed to enable full insertion.
2. Drive 2 ft. wooden stakes or rebar 4-5 ft. from end hoops. Wooden stakes actually work better.
3. Run a piece of rope or strong twine from the top of each end hoop down to the stake and tie off tightly. This is the weak point in the system, and will need extra support to keep the end hoops from slicing through soil and caving in under the pressure of snow load.
4. Lay 10 ft. wide Agribon+ AG-19 or heavier row cover over hoops.
5. Cinch one end together and tie the row cover to a stake or rebar driven in the ground at the end.
6. Pull tight from the opposite end and tie to opposite stake.
7. If snow is expected, repeat the above procedure for plastic. Otherwise, wait until first snow is expected, then add plastic on top of Agribon. It is important, if you are putting both coverings on at once, to tie them separately (the row cover first, then the plastic), to keep the coverings taught, lengthwise.
8. Fill sand bags with sand or rock (not soil) and add at the bases of each hoop to hold covering(s) in place. A couple extra on the ends doesn’t hurt either.
9. Set up is complete. Good luck!
Quick Hoops™ Resources:
Quick Hoops™ have proven remarkably effective at Johnny's Research Farm in Maine, and we are hearing from growers in many other locations about their success with this simple, inexpensive system. Click here for a listing of crops that have been successful in Quick Hoops™ as fall plantings.