Hooped Covers for the Raised Beds – Part 1

Our little corner of paradise has many idyllic features fitting my “Want List,” compiled over 30 years, almost perfectly.  Remote?  Check (as the realtors have advertised, we are three mountains back from the nuclear blast zones). Sparse population?  Check (reputedly the lowest population of any county east of the Mississippi River).  Isolation?  Check (nearest permanent neighbors a mile away).  Geographic beauty?  Oh yeah.

Rich, loamy soil perfect for gardening?  Uh, not so much.  I actually think that the primary “agricultural” product of our region is not cattle and sheep but rocks.  Even now after a dozen years of gardening the same spot Mrs. Barn gathers a new pile of rocks every Spring during her pre-planting preparations.   By the way, this has to be done by hand as the “soil” will beat the ever lovin’ snot out of a garden tiller.  I once rented a trencher to bury some electrical conduit.  Didn’t last five minutes.


Recognizing the nature of the “soil” here I built a series of raised beds for gardening before we moved here.  I ordered a truck load of “topsoil” that had to be screened to remove all the gravel, then filled the boxes with that screened dirt.  Soon enough there were green shoots popping up.

Early on I affixed PVC hoops ribs on the boxes so they could be netted in the summer and covered with plastic in the winter.  On two of the boxes I built removable screened hoop covers for the beds, and this past winter I was informed that the two screened covers were plumb wore out and needed to be replaced.

Given the importance of the enclosed raised beds I decided to make some first-class hoop covers for them.  I began by taking the time to make a form on which I could assemble laminated curved ribs.  Then the work got serious.