Most gardeners give up on growing anything in the winter. That’s a shame because wintertime is a great opportunity to grow many cold weather crops.
For those of you who do grow plants in the winter, you might be using cold frames. Gardeners have been using these forever, and they are very effective, but there’s another option that does an even better job of protecting your plants from the cold temperatures and harsh winds of winter. I’m talking about “low tunnels.”
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They’re also referred to as quick hoops, mini hoops, and caterpillar tunnels, but I call them low tunnels. If you’ve never heard of them, they are literally a tunnel in which you grow your plants. You can build them by bending PVC pipes into an arc, lining them up, and covering them with plastic sheeting.
Why are they better than cold frames? Several reasons. They’re cheaper to build, they’re easier to build, they’re easier to move around, they’re easier to store, more sunlight gets in because there aren’t frames casting shadows on the plants, there is plenty of room for taller plants which would otherwise freeze when touching the glass of a cold frame…I could go on.
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If you’re still not convinced, you might be interested in this video by Arms Family Homestead where he shows off his low tunnel. He’s had a lot of success growing beets, spinach, bok choy, and several other vegetables in very cold temperatures. Watch it below.