Maria Arnot from Williamson, WV in Mingo County. Last year, I did a lot of research on low- tunnels for season extension. I looked at different vendors, materials and read many blogs on the best and most economical ways to build low tunnels. Finally, I got in touch with Mark Walden at HQ regarding supplies.
Some of the take-aways from the e-mail that have helped me significantly and that I thought worth sharing were:
- heavy duty wire hoops(3/16″). They are easy to stick straight into the ground and are pretty rigid which helps stand up a little better in the wind. At Martin’s supply in liberty KY 606-787-9389… they have hoops that are 64″ long and come in a bundle of 100 for $49 plus shipping. This works well for beds up to 3 foot wide.
- Mark recommends instead of plastic using row cover. Martin’s has two sizes 1.5oz 7 foot x 500 ft – $105 & 1.5 oz 10 foot x 500 foot – $140 this weight fabric will give you 6 to 8 degrees of protection. In low tunnels plastic doesn’t give much more protection than that. The row cover would allow for rain penetration and would not have to be rolled back on warm days.
We had several gardeners interested in season extension last year, who even took it upon themselves to build their own low tunnels, using plastic and sticks. Boy do I wish I had taken a picture of that!! In the fall, we finally introduced all of our gardeners to the idea of low-tunnels but unfortunately it was too late in the season before we had all our supplies. We are excited to see a greater interest this year, and now thanks to Marks’ advice we have the proper supplies to do so. I finally have two rolls of row cover and a bunch of wire hoops!
We have decided to host two season extension workshops- one for early spring, and one for late fall. We have scheduled an introductory meeting/ workshop for March 12th with our veteran gardeners. Here we will provide wire hoops and row covers to gardeners who are interested in getting some stuff out now. Will let you know it turns out. Below is our experimental tunnel that we got out before the snow hit us hard. It is finally almost gone.