Monthly Book Giveaway - February 2023

Our Hoophouses #1: Why I bought a Hoophouse

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This is part 1 in a 14 part series: Our Hoophouses

As a last resort, to protect my gardens from rabbits, I bought a Hoophouse.

See my project here: https://homesteadian.com/projects/2-project-greenhouse

Let’s begin at the beginning.
Last year, the last several years actually, the critters have beaten me to the harvesting of my garden. Last year especially, rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, and voles cleared out my garden and I mean they cleared out everything. I got zero radishes, beans, or peas; a few tomatoes and a few peppers and that's it. All the time, effort, and the money invested and I barely got anything harvested to eat fresh for me. 

The Garden Pests

Living in rural Ontario, Canada, this is what has been destroying my gardens:
  • rabbits
  • chipmunks
  • squirrels
  • voles
  • deer
  • birds

Last year, for the 20th time I said to myself, "I am not growing another garden. That’s it."

And, in the spring, just like every other year, I got excited and inspired and motivated and hopeful and I started another garden.

One night, in the middle of the night this past spring, I woke up thinking, "what about a greenhouse?" Of course! Greenhouses could keep the critters out away from the plants and maybe, just maybe, I would get something to harvest.  

I bought one, from Amazon and I loved it. I had tomatoes growing, and beans growing, and nothing was getting to it. This was definitely my answer. And, so I bought another one and now I have two.

This year has been the best year that I have ever gardened and I can now say, "I am a gardener now."

AND ... looking back, since neither of my neighbours have had critter issues, I think that I was being nudged to invest in a greenhouse. I wouldn't have done so if it hadn't been for the hungry rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, and voles. So, I have to say "thank-you". .. begrudgingly. 

This year .. I really haven't seen any critters around. I guess they were only here for 2021 and to guide me down the path of hoophouses! 

TRUST THE NUDGES!! 
- Debbie 

What’s the difference between a Hoophouse and a greenhouse?

A Hoophouse and a greenhouse can be the same thing EXCEPT a greenhouse has supplemental heating. The Hoophouse relies on the sun for the heat source. 

What are the benefits of a Hoophouse or greenhouse? 

Hoophouses and greenhouses are enclosures and, as shown above, can help to keep garden pests away from plants and produce as well as to protect the plants from wind or sun damage.

The garden enclosures can also trap heat inside, raising the temperature throughout the day. If a supplemental heat source is also used, the heat can also be maintained through the night. If not, as with a Hoophouse, the temperature will drop to the same as outside. 

Because of extra heat in the day and that the Hoophouse provided protection against wind, it is also a wonderful way to extend the garden season. You can plant earlier in the spring and later in the fall, with your garden protected from frost.

What are the drawbacks to using a Hoophouse or greenhouse? 

The primary drawback to using a garden enclosure is that it prevents rain from getting to the soil within. Drip lines, watering hoses, and/or watering cans will be needed to ensure the soil’s water levels are optimal for good soil health and, thus, plant health.

Do you have a garden enclosure? What are your tips and lessons learned? 
- Debbie

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