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Hoophouses

Don't they sound cute? Say "hoophouses" a few times and try to stop yourself from smiling. These are occasionally also referred to as poly tunnels, but the latter generally implies a large  tube that farmers use for their spring seedlings, and we're just talking about the wee ones for home gardening purposes. Made of polyethylene sheeting and PVC pipe on a wooden frame, these are great for covering larger growing areas. The easiest and cheapest way for you to make small hoophouses to use in your own garden would be to hack apart a couple of old hula hoops, bend them into C shapes, screw the ends into a simple wooden frame made of scrap lumber, and cover the lot with polyethelyne sheeting. If you think the sheeting needs extra support, you could always lay down a skeleton of chicken wire beforehand. Don't make the hoophouse too large -- you'll want it small and lightweight enough that you can pick it up and move it by yourself when tending to the plants beneath.

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