Hoop Tunnels


I recently built several hoop tunnels over my vegetable bed but I am not exactly how to grow things inside. I was wondering what type of vegetables should be planted first inside. How often should the plastic be opened to allow air to flow in? There are 6 mil, 8 mil, and 10 mil plastics on the market, Which one is best fit for Toronto’s weather?
What is the best time to transplant cucumbers, tomatoes and bitter melons inside? Could I start flower seeds inside the tunnel? Would you recommend some resources for growing veggies under the cover?
Thank you so much for your help?


Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners regarding growing in your hoop tunnels.  This is a great way to extend the growing season.  Cold season crops such as spinach and kale can be started in tunnels now.  There are several great resources that we can suggest.  Niki Jabbour is a Canadian vegetable grower and writer based near Halifax. Her book Growing Under Cover (2020, Storey Publishing) is an excellent resource.  She advises 6 mil greenhouse grade plastic and provides guidelines regarding planting and venting.  A brief overview is provided in this blog post https://savvygardening.com/row-cover-hoops/.

Jean-Martin Fortier is a market gardener south of Montreal.  His book The Market Gardener: A successful Grower’s Handb00k for Small-Scale Organic Farming (New Society Publishers, 2014), devotes an entire chapter to hoop tunnels, hoop houses and poly-houses. Much of the content is available in Youtube videos as well and I have attached a link to an introductory trailer here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVG8Ew4iGdY

Curtis Stone is an urban farmer in Kelowna.  His video on low poly-tunnels is just one of the many resources he has online https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thPkHJVFfMY

We hope these resources will provide you with information and inspiration as you experiment with season extension techniques!