Hooping Around the Bend

Hoops assembled and waiting for end walls and plastic.

“With all of this snow, have you been planting yet?”

Every new face I encounter these past few weeks has been accompanied with a furrowed brow and some variation of the above question.

I try not to feel too panicky as I answer in the negative.

So what have we been doing to prepare for the upcoming growing season?  Well, besides growing up tender little seedlings, chicks, and kittens — all inside the house, we’ve been building a structure to help us cope with this changeable, less-than-accommodating weather.

We’ll use the solar hoophouse we have been building over the winter to extend our growing season — growing greens and cold-hardy veggies earlier and later in the season and hopefully to push forward ripening dates of longed for fruits like tomatoes and strawberries. Heck, after losing both bee hives to the temperature swings this “spring,” we might just want to keep the hives in the hoops?  Looks like I have some more research to do on that front…

In the middle of our April 19th snowstorm, we called an Echo Bend workbee to raise the hoops!  Warm, hearty local foods and spicy tea helped to chill our aching, slushy cold hands and toes while we raced to get the last hoop in place before the snow became so heavy we couldn’t see our measuring marks or hold on to the slippery hoops.  The brilliance of the design is that we managed to assemble the structure with 4 sets of hands — yours truly and 3 strong men, as you can see in this video.

Next steps include building the end walls, vent, and door — then watching for a break in the weather to call another workbee in order to stretch and attach plastic. THEN, finally, I can begin to plant inside it!  Anyone who comes to help will be gifted with those first early ripe tomatoes. Ripe, luscious tomatoes in June in N. MI? Here’s ho(o)ping!

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