Gardeners all across the country are starting to grab hoop covers for their raised garden beds. Have you got yours? If not, know the different types of garden bed cover as early as now. So, read on.
As a gardener, I understand that you wish to grow fresh produce over winter. You might even desire to have a marvelous kick start for spring. These are enough reasons to have the best cover for your garden raised bed.
One good thing about these garden bed covers is the fact that it can lengthen the season from your end by another month. Isn’t it amazing to extend spring by another month? However, take note that because of the changing climate, the result varies from one location to another.
A raised bed cover traps heat coming from the sun on a summer season. This means more production of fresh spinach, lettuce, kale, and the like. On the other hand, hoop covers protect summer crops against late frosts. During spring, it maintains warmth in soil as it traps the heat. This time, little sprouts inside it can nurture unreservedly and unharmed amid hasty changes in the season.
Garden bed covers also provide the best protection from pests and bugs. Hoops cover serves as vegetables’ sanctuary from beetles, bugs, and larger pests such as rabbits and birds. This is ideal for use on their growing season. In general, raise bed covers doubles the chance to grow crops. It has proved its value in increasing your harvest too.
Listed below are the three major types of garden covers that you can grab for your crops. First is garden fleece. Plastic raised garden cover comes in second. The third and last major type is mesh netting. All of them have support frames that are held steadily in its base.
Types of Hoop Covers That Suitable For Garden Beds
1) Garden Fleece
First on the list is garden fleece cover. Just like any other raised bed cover types that are already out in the market, a garden fleece cover provides optimum protection for plants against raised beds pests, animals, and other elements that are detrimental to the plants’ growth. In a deeper sense, garden fleece protects these crops from frost and other challenges caused by cold weather conditions. Growing veggies as the temperature hits negative five degrees might sound unbelievable. But trust me, with garden fleece, air, moisture, and light can normally travel through your veggies.
This type of garden bed cover is specially-designed to set off crop growing for overwintering. Thus, it is ideal for year-round crop protection against the damaging winds, scorching sun’s heat, and heavy rains. As far as installation is concerned, garden fleece is so easy to install. It won’t take you until forever to set it up. This lightweight mesh can be used again and be positioned above the seedbed. You don’t have to worry about hurting those young sprouts inside it.
This type of raised garden bed cover resembles a small poly-tunnel that has a dome-like shape. It is made of plastic tubes and wooden frames. Such a composition of materials creates hoops that support and protect the crops just beneath it. This unique shape for a garden bed gives the plants a superfluous amount of headroom to grow.
2) Plastic or Poly Cover
Since it is made of clear polythene of optimum quality, poly-covers or plastic work in the same way with its larger poly-tunnels counterparts. This plastic cover creates a barrier that protects the crops from bad weather conditions, animals, and pests. When we speak of protection, you can’t ask for more with poly-covers. It offers protection and retains moisture and heat inside your garden bed.
To further specify its unique features, a poly-cover or a plastic garden cover traps moisture in the air. This amplifies humidity and soil temperature. Having this in your garden lets you grow crops even before the season starts. So, go ahead and take advantage of a long time growing fresh vegetables in your backyard.
To set up, simply fasten the clear plastic or poly-cover on top of small tunnel cloche hoops or frames. Next, elevate it to reach the maximum height.
3) Micro-Mesh (Insect Netting)
At this point, we have reached the third major type of garden bed covers. When we speak of plants’ protection against insects, micromesh is the best. It is a super-fine net that is ideal for garden netting. As a gardener, you cannot afford to let those flea beetles and aphids mess up your crops, can you? This garden cover steers your plants away from all these harmful pests while keeping the moisture and air inside.
What makes this type of garden bed cover the best is its suitability for watering without the need to remove it. Unlike plastic garden bed covers that can easily heat up as weather temperature rises, micro-mesh does not hoard heat hastily. As I said earlier, the fineness of its mesh can protect your plants from pests. As a bonus, it keeps your crops well-protected from the blistering heat of the sun.
How to Create a Raised Garden Bed Hoop?
For this project, you should have several PVC water pipes of approximately 12 millimeters or half an inch wide. You also need two pipe caps, a couple of 50-centimeters rebar, and several garden wires or U-bolts.
Not just that, make sure to have some strong polythene or a greenhouse plastic with you to be used in wrapping the tunnel. Have spring clamps on the side too. This holds the garden bed hoop or cover perfectly in place. Along with all these aforementioned materials are few pipe insulation materials. Now, grab a hammer and a hacksaw and you are good to go.
Here are the steps on how to make a do-it-yourself hoop cover for your raised garden bed.
Work on the hoop cover supports. Hammer in rebars of equal lengths. First, carefully measure the distance of the garden bed. Make sure that the hoop supports have equal distance to the bed. Have a three-feet maximum space in between supports. Also, ensure a 15 to 20-centimeter space between the rebar and the ground. Set up a six to eight-inch rebar on top of the ground.
At this point, you need to create the so-called “hoops”. Start by cutting the pipe lengths. Its length must be enough to bend it into a semi-circle or a half-circle (to be more precise). This provides the crops inside your garden bed an extra space to grow on sides. The height of the hoops should be enough to serve such purpose. Now, bend these hoops towards the position of its rebar supports.
The third step involves the setting of a ridge pole. A ridge pole creates stability for the entire garden bed structure. It connects the garden bed to the hoops. It also serves as a support to the cover. A ridge pole in place prevents the garden bed cover to sag.
It is even more important to take an accurate measurement of the ridge pole. It must slightly extend beyond the end of each hoop house. Once fit perfectly, trim the excess then tie it in both ends. Failure to do so can snag the cover. Now, use a garden wire or a u-bolt to secure them into the hoops.
Covering the tunnel is the fourth step. Put out the polythene you have previously prepared. Get ready to conceal the hoop house by cutting the polythene to a size similar to the hoop house. Use a pipe insulation or any soft rubber tube to lock the polythene into the hoops. Cut it and open it out lengthwise. This keeps the polythene steadily in place.
Lastly, secure the hoop cover with bricks. Measure the polythene edges. Its ends must be weighed down every time frosty weather is experienced. This hinders any further damages caused by strong winds. Strong winds might go underneath these hoops and might tear the cover down in a gust. As much as possible, make sure that the hoops cover is properly sealed and secured. Wrap its sides around a bamboo cane or a conduit.
Are There Any Alternative Methods To Use?
Use cattle panels or heavy gauge mesh in creating a garden bed cover. With a bolt cutter, cut the panel depending on the size and shape of the garden bed. Next, bend it into the shape of the garden bed. As much as possible, make sure not to leave any edge pointed. Sharp edges can cause the cover to hold-up. Now, seal it cover with a hosepipe slit. Lastly, push the tunnel towards the direction of the garden bed and lock it in.
Are you planning to buy a ready-made hoop? You might want to consider steel cloche hoops. These hoops are made of metal tubes. The materials needed for such type of garden bed cover is sweeping today’s market.
You simply need a thick wire to create tunnel cloche hoops that can perfectly cover the entire garden bed. Press the hoops down and carefully fasten it to the sides of your garden bed. At this point, you need a polythene cover to ensure that your growing crops can do its business without getting interrupted with insects and late frosts. Having hoop covers in place can guarantee high yields even in the face of unfavorable weather conditions. Bear in mind that your plants’ growth does not have to be interrupted with ground-dwelling and airborne pests. So, change the mesh cover yearly, at least. When you do, you give your growing plants the gift of protection they need to reap all the benefits while enjoying the sun outside.
When it comes to gardening, make mini poly-tunnels your best buddy. You need not worry about the garden size. These garden bed cover alternatives make an incredible pick because of its stability. Though it is a little expensive, it gives value to your money. This ready-made poly-tunnel kit has a frame that is made from curved tubes. Besides, use a hinge to attach the cover to the raised garden bed. Hinges make it so easy to open.
Generally, choose a garden cover based on the purpose it serves. You’ll need a plastic garden bed cover if you look forward to have a mini greenhouse effect on your garden. Pick meshes or netting if you are more particular with pest protection for your growing crops rather than trapping heat. Lastly, the fleece garden cover is perfect for extending the season for growing crops.