If you read my inaugural post, you might remember that 2020 is my first attempt at year-round edible gardening. In my balmy zone 8a, I've managed to keep harvesting through November without any special structures or equipment (or effort). When our temperatures sink below zero for an extended period, it usually means the end of whatever I have growing.
This year, my husband and I decided to build removable polytunnel structures over each of our three raised beds. Each bed is approximately 4 feet by 8 feet. To construct the covers, we used 4 lengths of 3/4 inch PVC pipe per bed. We had to trim the PVC pipes to bring down the height so that we could clamp the edges to the beds for easy access, installation, and removal. We only intend to use the bed with the plastic covers before the warm weather sets in. The ends of each of the three hoops are fastened to the wooden boxes with two loops of metal pipe strapping. You will need to adjust the height of the PVC hoops depending on the width of your plastic cover. The fourth length of PVC pipe that sits across the tops of the three hoops is fastened on each hoop with heavy guage tie wire. Nothing fancy, but we covered the tips of the wire with thick tape to ensure that it would not snag the plastic cover. The PVC length across the top has fitted PVC caps at each end, again to avoid snagging and damaging the cover. After the frame was set up, we covered it with heavy duty plastic sheeting that we already had on hand. We cut the lengths to fit each bed, ensuring that there was enough on the sides and ends to clap it down and seal it off from cold air and the elements. We used inexpensive heavy duty spring clamps to hold everything in place.
Et voila! Our simple polytunnels are complete. These were completed at a casual pace over a few days. The construction of these are simple but sturdy. Even a novice working should be able to complete these with minimal tools and supplies. Because we didn't need to buy the plastic, tie wire, and tape, we probably only spent about $35 per bed to make these. I hope that we will be able to get several years of use from them before anything needs replacing or repairing.
Its only February but I'm already excited to think about what I'll be growing next December!