With the lettuce and greens sprouting up nicely in the garden row box, I started to worry about a lucky rabbit or other pest discovering the garden. I made hoop rows with a drill, a roll of Pex piping, some screws, and netting - to provide a little shading, and to protect the garden row from animals and insects. The 3ft wide x 30ft long row was hooped and netted for less than $50 USD.
Cutting and Installing the Hoops
I'm making these hoops with 1/2" flexible PVC PEX piping - usually used for plumbing water feeds, this will work well for my short and narrow hoop rows. For larger and stronger hoop rows, jig bent rebar is used for the hoops (rebar is usually used to reinforce cement). This 100 foot roll of PEX pipe cost $25 USD. I used a sawzall to cut each PEX pipe segment to 7 feet long - with 3 inches sunk into each side of the garden box wall, that leaves 6-1/2 feet for each hoop arch to span the 3 foot wide garden box.
A hole was drilled in the garden row box wall, from the top, every 30 inches (2-1/2 feet), with a 3/4" drill bit, 3 inces deep - kind of like a sheath for the pex pipe. In the center of the hole I screwed in a 4" deck screw, half way in, like a post to insert into the pex pipe.
After all the hoops were inserted into the hoop holes, I drilled a drywall screw in the side of the box wall, and into the pex pipe to hold the hoops securely in place - in hindsight, the 4" deck screws are probably unnecessary.
Tension rope attached to the front of the garden box, pulled tight and wrapped around the top of each hoop, then tied to the back of the garden box - tied onto two screws in the front and back board, added extra screws on the corners.
Hoop Row Netting
The garden box is 3ft wide x 30ft long, the hoop arc is 6-1/2 ft long. The netting piece I have is 10ft wide x 50ft - large enough for the hoop row. I purchased this and another one of these mosquito nets from amazon last year for $25 USD each. This netting will give partial shade to the lettuce and greens, it will keep out rabbits, moths, and other pests, while letting the rain and breezes in.
First I rolled the downhill side of the garden box netting in 2x4s, then screwed them into the side of the garden box wall to permanently hold that side of the net in place.
Then the uphill side of the garden box netting was rolled up and weighted down with loose 2x4s and 2x6s. The front and back side of the garden box netting was rolled and sealed with loose 2x6s.
Easy Garden Access
For harvesting, weeding, and re-seeding, I can unroll the loose lumber from the uphill, front, and back sides of the netting, and then pull the loose netting over to the downhill side of the garden box for easy access.
You can see below how easily rain will pass through the netting.
That tension rope keeps those hoops tight.
Pest Free Garden
No more worries of pests or moths ravaging the garden, I've already seen a few rabbits - hoop row to the rescue.