Finally got both the hoophouses set up, finished the last one last night. They went together very easily, all the parts were there, and even the covers went on surprisingly easily. The only "defect" that I've come across has been that one of the window vents is missing one of the fasteners for holding the open rolled up panel; but it turns out to be a non-issue because it stays up fine with just the one fastener. All of the stitching and so on appears to be very sturdy, and the covers have a mesh embedded in the plastic so should hold up quite well. All in all, at a little under $130 each, with free shipping, I think these were quite a bargain.
What will be growing in the hoophouses? For my early planting (now) I'll be putting in bush beans, hot and bell peppers, 3 tomato plants (Bush Early Girl and Manitoba), lettuce, basil, rosemary and savory in one of them, and Honey Rock muskmelons, sweet potatoes and bush cucumbers in the other. Later on I'll be planting things that will hopefully last well into the winter, lettuce, chard, carrots, cabbage, brussels sprouts, endive, and ?? I'll be adding more pictures as the season progresses!
On Sunday (5/17) I planted Tendergreen bush beans, Midnight Ruffles lettuce, Green Ice lettuce and a Mesclun salad mixture in one of the houses, and Salad Bush and Homemade Pickles cukes plus Honey Rock muskmelons in the other (all from seed). At this point I'm starting to think the muskmelon might be a little too large of vine for the space that it will have, so I may have to do some trellising, pruning or both. Also have been reading about sweet potatoes and they make more of a rampant vine than I realized, so may have to try to grow them vertically as well.
Off to somewhat of a slow start -- only 1 of the melons ever sprouted, so I'm going to start a few inside and transplant out. Something is eating the beans, so I need to replant. And I'm contending with a lot more grass and weeds than I anticipated, but I should have known better; this is the end of the garden that we expanded into what was previously lawn. It probably would have been better from that respect to set the hoop houses up in a more established part of the garden, but space logistics didn't seem to work for that. This year is definitely an experimental phase!
The bush beans have not come up well at all, something has been chewing them off -- although some have recovered, most did not. I have more started in the greenhouse and will put them in the ground once they can better fend for themselves!
Yesterday I planted 2 more tomatoes (Delicious and Pruden's Purple) and 3 pepper plants (2 jalapeno and 1 Numex Sunrise) in the hoophouse where the muskmelon never got going. After further consideration, if I want to do a muskmelon in one of these HH, I either need to dedicate one just to that, or else grow a small, maybe bush-type, melon. At any rate, have more tomotoes longer into the fall would be great thing -- every year we try to devise something to carry them past the first few frosts but never seem to be very successful. With the plants in the garden I now have 16 tomatoes planted -- about 4 more than I usually plant. I'm hoping the indoor ones won't suffer the effects of blight that always eventually wrecks the outdoor plants. If this works out really well I may in the future be growing all of the tomatoes and peppers inside a hoophouse.
Swapped out the tomato cages for these garden-fence cages; we used these for years in the main garden and I hated them, there are sharp edges that tend to gash your arms when you pick, but definitely more support than the ring-type cages.
The beans are just starting to flower -- they're looking pretty "viney" for a bush bean, I may need to give them some kind of support. Found a small-marble-size tomato on the 4th of July plant -- yippee!