The hoophouse today

We’ve been eating well from the hoophouse just now, but I have too much unoccupied space.  Time got away from me in late July/early August and I didn’t start enough plants.

I need to pull the two tomato plants and sow some spinach, and maybe see if I can get some scallions going in there to overwinter.

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3 Responses to “The hoophouse today”

  1. meemsnyc Says:

    Oooh, I love your hoop house! It’s so nice!! I’m so envious!! I’m hoping to do a greenhouse / garden shed next year. We shall see.

  2. McKenzie Says:

    I live in central Maryland and just built a hoophouse. What would you recommend planting in large trays over the winter? (Come spring it’ll be changed into an aquaponics project. ) The house is unheated. Am I crazy to think that lettuce and spinach might grow?

    • Ali Says:

      Hi McKenzie,

      In your warmer clime, you can definitely grow a lot of veggies. The primary issue is to get things planted as soon as possible so they have some time to get established before the daylight hours go below 10 hours/day. One the days get that short, thing won’t grow much, but will remain alive and dormant. Then, in February, when the days lengthen to over 10 hours, things will begin to grow again.

      You say “trays,” so I imagine you won’t be planting directly in the soil. I think the challenge there would be keeping the soil temps from fluctuating too much, and keeping it moist enough. I can’t really speak to that well.

      As for what to grow, I would suggest you try sowing spinach, mache, cold-hardy lettuce varieties, kales, carrots, arugula, chard, Asian greens such as mizuna, tatsoi, and mustard, and scallions and leeks. A baby greens mix, sowed thickly, would give you a nice mix for salads or braising. In your warmer winters I bet you could successfully get some onions started in there.

      Johnny’s Selected Seeds in Maine has some great references online about winter growing. I would check out their list of crops for low tunnels. I use a lot of Johnny’s seeds and they are great.

      Mother Earth News has some great articles on cold-hardy plants, too. I just read a good one on selecting kale from the numerous varieties now available.

      Experiment with your favorite veggies — seeds aren’t that expensive and you could be lucky and enjoy one of your favorites late into or early on in the season. Have fun!

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