The growing season can be a bit short up here in the north so this year I decided to be adventurous and use a mini hoop tunnel to extend the growing season.

A mini hoop tunnel is a fancy way of describing the act of draping plastic (or other material) over your garden bed to warm the soil. Warmer soil means you can plant earlier in the spring and harvest later in the fall.

The first part of my bed warming strategy was to lay this black plastic-like material directly on top of my soil and cover it with a bit of dirt to hold it in place (you cannot see this in the photo). The material is called Bio360 and it is a compostable mulch film. I would tell you some amazing reason why I got this specific product except I happened to see it on my seed company’s website and it seemed more legit than literally using a black garbage bag. I don’t know what I am doing….

Reading up on mini hoop tunnel construction, with multiple material types etc., hurt my brain so I just bought a mini hoop tunnel assembly kit. Stuck the metal hoops into the planter box and covered them with the plastic sheet supplied. It is special because it has air holes in it. I am sure a cheap plastic sheet from a hardware store and a good stabbing knife would achieve the same thing. Used some old wood boards to hold the plastic down.

Now I wait 2 weeks and then I can plant in the bed.

My modest number of plants growing inside. 

Here is also an updated photo of the plants I started indoors. My strawberries are non-existent but the cherry tomatoes are super cute. Germination of my onions has been spotty at best. The taller plants are my broccoli which are doing great. I recently started cucumber seeds but haven’t seen them yet. Actually it was super cute, my toddler technically was the one who planted the cucumber. She took the seed out of the packet and pushed it into the soil. Melted my heart. Although then she thought it was super fun and got mad at me when I didn’t let her plant 100 seeds in one tiny pot.

Funny side story. When my daughter and I went outside to set up the mini hoop, as I closed the sliding door I heard the sound of our retro door lock sliding into place (you know when you use a wooden block between the closed door and door frame so the door cannot be slid open?!). Yup, totally locked us in the backyard. In the middle of a row of townhouses with conjoined yards so I would have had to abandon my toddler and climb over about 5 fences to go around the front of the house. No one else was home and my phone was left inside. Witness me precariously hanging onto my fence and using the end of my shovel to tap on my neighbour’s window. Luckily they were home and heard it and came into my house to rescue us.