Saturday, November 19, 2011

My Southern Ontario Winter Hoophouse

There's a mix of summer and fall in our meals right now. 
A few Sweet Solano tomatoes are still gracing our salads, picked as they ripened, but saved from the hard frost before fully ripe.
It's so wonderful to be munching, sauteing and roasting sweet and hot peppers that are storing well in the cooler.

Some are still surviving in the hoop house. The brilliant shock of red just makes it seem that much warmer in there.
But on the cool but sunny days, it's hot under that layer of poly. The doors are open to allow ventilation.
Because these are cool or down-right cold weather crops I'm growing in here. 
Here's a peek in hoop house #1...

And Hoop house #2....

It really is a lot of food.

I did 2 big picks yesterday and hmmm. Did I really?  The arugula is certainly diminished, but not much else.

This of course is good. Very good indeed. 

These crops were all seeded a bit later than most years. I think I was into the first week of October, but it's all worked out really well. A mild fall has seen to it that the seed germinated really quickly, and the plants have grown well.

I panicked a bit when I realized my Agribon fabric was pretty holey and mouse chewed.

This fabric is essential to keep the crops safe when the temperatures dip really low. So I placed a quick order yesterday to the good folks at Johnny's and it was mailed out yesterday too. (Such a great company to deal with.) I use the 19 weight, which has good light transmission and protects my crops very well under my poly. 

I've always found it important to prop up the fabric, so it isn't touching the plants. I've just lost too many leaves to frost burn from wet fabric freezing on the tender leaves.

I counted today. I have more than 30 different crops growing this winter. There are lots of mustards...


various pac choi, tatsoi, and bok choi.

And lettuces .

Much more too!

And of course, a chair. 

Because there is nothing better on a frosty cold and sunny Southern Ontario day than sitting in the hoop house, face to the sun, feeling the warmth go through you, and smelling the richness of the earth as it grows good food. 

Insta-vacation!  It's all so good.


Cellarguy said...

I'm liking the hoop house idea. Recent Mother Earth News had me very curious about their possibilities. Tell us more about that agribon fabric and how you use it: does it go right on top of the ground in the hoop house, and you poke holes in it to plant seeds or seedlings? Does it really keep the ground from freezing in the hoop house despite SWOnt winter temperatures? Does your hoop house have a heat source too? Lots of questions here. More please!

Erin Wilson said...

It all looks so good. I've been sick in bed :( Maybe I should have rented your chair! Seems like a better place to recuperate.

Talk to you when I'm well...

Linda said...

Thanks for reading-okay Cellarguy..I'll be happy to do another post with more details and answer your questions. Having a hoop house to winter grow is wonderful and very worthwhile.

Iz said...

I loved being in the hoop house, feeling the warmth seep into my bones on a frosty morning.

Anonymous said...

Did the follow-up post for Cellarguy ever happen? I have many of the same questions, but I can't seem to find the post. Thanks for your great blog!