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Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 7:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M(11/B)

Low Row Tunnels - Basic Tips, Do's and Don'ts?

So I bought some winter protection (3mil) plastic and slitted film intended to cover low row tunnels. I've set up one 4-hoop tunnel approx 2.5ft high x 2.5ft wide over couple of watermelon vines that are still limping along since it has a small fruit and had it covered with the slitted film and, yesterday, double covered it with the 3mil solid film due to overnight frost warning.

It actualy went down to 28°F this morning, freezing a branch of the vines that was protruding from the tunnel, but all of the covered portions of the watermelon has survived.

I also have a 4ftx10ft bed with approximatey 3ft high hoops that I had also covered with slitted film and 3mil plastic, protecting some pepper plants, late planted sweet potatoes, pinkeye purple hull beans, as well as Swiss chard, and new seedlings of carrots, radishes and greens. There was Roselle planted in the corner of this bed and I wrapped the bottom half of the plant with the excess plastic. The exposed upper half of the plant was frozen this morning but the rest of the plant has survived. I intend to plant ready to transplant broccoli seedlings in this bed as well.

(I'm really pleased with the way 3mil over slitted seems to have provided good protection)

Another 4ftx10ft bed of earlier planted and should be ready to harvest sweet potatoes and winter squash, loosely covered (open at bottom 1ft of both sides) only with slitted film was hard hit and I'm pretty sure the sweet potatoe foliage has frozen, though some of the squash may yet recover (I hope so because the fruits are still green and only 1/2 sized).

I'm planning to set up some more of the 2.5-3ft high x 2.5-3ft wide row hoops over seedling greens, carrots, and radishes in other beds.

So, there's my long winded description of what I have. :wink:

What are the basic Do's and Don'ts for how to manage these low tunnels?
The temp is in the 50's today, 40's tonight, then supposed to go back up to 70's/50's and 60's/40's for a while. Do I open the ends? Roll up sides? At what temp ranges? With impending frost and freezing temps, I can't really have a watering system but it seems like things would dry out faster under there -- should I stick some soaker hoses under there for now?

I can't think of any other questions besides the temperatures and possible need for ventilation/temperature adjustment. But I imagine there are other issues to watch out for.
Thanks in advance. :D

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