The next logical step for the raised bed Art built for my birthday in spring 2011 was to structure a low tunnel over it so cool-weather greens can grow in winter...or at least thrive longer in fall and start earlier in spring.
We looked to Johnny's Seeds for the bits we'd need. First, a bender to turn conduit into hoops-- worthwhile, easy to use, and eminently shareable with your neighbors.
Art holds up hoops so I can visualize where we'll position them. Then he secures them. I need to be able to get inside to clip greens.
You can see the sun on that nice southern brick wall below, our neighbor's building. All credit to Eliot Coleman and his Four Season Harvest, which opened our eyes...
Eliot Coleman introduces the surprising fact that most of the United States has more winter sunshine than the south of France. He shows how North American gardeners can successfully use that sun to raise a wide variety of traditional winter vegetables in backyard cold frames and plastic covered tunnel greenhouses without supplementary heat.
We used these Johnny's snap clamps to attach the fabric to a long run of conduit to weigh down the edges.
The conduit concept worked well, and I hope to be able to lift the edge as a single unit when I want to get in there or give the plants some air.
The clamps also keep the fabric taut on the hoops, to hold snow.
I probably wouldn't purchase these plastic clamps again. In the cold weather they're difficult to manage and apply...even in not-so-cold weather they were a pain. Got to be an easier way.