How to Extend the Growing Season

Arugula Low Tunnel

Most frost tolerant crops can withstand temperatures as low as 26 degrees Fahrenheit. Meaning you can continue to enjoy them well into Fall, depending upon your climate. 

Greens like arugula, mustard, spinach, carrots, and kale make great fall crops. These can also be easily protected from the elements so that they can be enjoyed even longer. Woo hoo! 

It is surprisingly easy to extend the growing season for these crops. Here’s what you’ll need to do.

Gather your supplies.

  • ½” PVC pipes- these may need cut depending on the surface area covered by the plastic. You can easily cut these with a standard hand saw. Make sure to cut them all the same length.
  • Polytunnel plastic-I used this one.
  • ¼” Rebar- the amount you’ll need varies, depending on the length of the row you’ll be covering. The arches will spaced three feet apart with rebar on either side of the arch. So if you have a nine foot row, you’ll need eight rebar. One set at zero feet, three feet, six feet, and nine feet. Make sense?
  • Rubber mallet.
  • Stones or bricks to weight the plastic.

Put the rebar in place.

Measure your row. Space your rebar on either side of the row every three feet apart beginning at zero feet and going until the very end of the row. Using the rubber mallet pound the rebar into the soil alongside your crops on either side. Be sure to line them up across from each other.

Create an arch with the PVC pipes.

Slide one side of the pvc pipe on top of rebar. Place the other side of the pipe on the rebar directly across creating an arch over your plants. Repeat this process until you’ve created an arched tunnel over the plants.

Drape your plastic over the arches.

Make sure the plastic reaches all the way to the ground on all sides. If not, cut down the PVC pipes until it does. Place stones or bricks on the border of the plastic in order to weigh it down. 

Jump with glee the first time you harvest your greens in 20 degree weather.

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