Making hoops for your vegetable beds
- You can use hoops and netting in your vege bed all year round. In summer a dark green or black netting wards off birds, butterflies, cats and hens. In winter cover your hoops with a knitted polythene crop cover called Mikroclima which creates a warmer microclimate (it can raise soil temperatures by up to 4 per cent).
- We use 6mm reinforcing steel rods which you can buy from a steel merchant or building supplies company. We cover it with old hosing. A flexible plumbing pipe works well too.
- Our beds are 1-1.2m wide, so we’ve purchased 3m lengths of steel. That allows for 50cm at each end to push into the garden and 2m to make the hoop a good height over the bed.
- Create a loop at each end of the rod. We curl the steel round a sturdy screw either by hand or using a pipe to manipulate the steel. When using the pipe the loop is smaller and neater but a bit open. In this case you’ll need to hammer it down.
- We put a loop at each end for 3 reasons: to have something for your foot to push down on as you secure it in the earth; you can thread string through the loops and peg the netting down onto the string; and the loops keep the hosing or piping securely fastened on the hoop.
- As soon as you make the first loop, thread the hosing or piping on!
- When making the second loop make sure the first loop is facing in the same direction as you’re intending on creating the second one. It’s best if the loops end up on the same side of the hoop (but it’s not disastrous if they don’t!) – this way both loops will be on the outside of the hoop in the garden.
- Next, bend your hoops by laying them round the circumference of a large barrel or similar and pulling the ends together. Make sure you have the loops horizontal at the time of bending.
- Two weeks ago we sowed Scarlet Runner and Borlotti beans. They’re all up now and looking great.
- The key thing now is watering. Beans needs watering every day during hot spells to stay crisp and not get tough and stringy. And if you haven’t mulched, now’s a good time.
Camera: Jarod Murray
Editor: Thomas Asche
Production equipment and post-production services provided by The Black Forest Breathes