The bane of my existence…

…Is the Gould Garden winter hoop. Honestly, if you pass by it, don’t bother looking at it because it looks ridiculous and there’s nothing growing under it anyways. 
Here’s the story:
As you probably know, there was issues with the hoops when we first set them up. They fell over and wouldn’t hold the arch shape, even after I added the spinal support (which there is a blog post about). I thought they would at least survive, maybe get a little bent out of shape, but that they would in the very least stay standing up. I had hoped that when it would snow as it does here in la belle Canada the snow would pile up around the edges of each hoop and create a border that would hold down the plastic and keep the tubes up. Alas. We didn’t get snow, we got rain. Only now in January is it starting to snow, but not enough as I’d hoped. The rain (curse it) just gathered in the loose parts of the plastic and weighed them down completely to the ground. What with the considerable weight of the water and the cold the tubes bent out of shape and were no longer maleable. Except for the end tubes which had wood stakes supporting them, the hoops were flat on the ground. You may say, why not cut them in half like the Children’s Garden hoops? Those are still standing up. And that was suggested and I did well consider it. However, in all the online manuals I’d looked at I never saw small hoops, they were all quite sizeable. Of course they were all made of better materials, but regardless, I stubbornly hoped that these would work, since they had in all the examples I’d seen.   
But they didn’t work… The left and right hoops, I was willing to admit defeat on. The tubes were completely warped and I wouldn’t be able to get them in the arch shape again while it was still cold outside. The center hoop is a different story. It had stayed up, and the tubes had stayed straight and in their nice arch shape. But when I went to adjust them one day back around the end of December, I found that the plastic of the middle hoop had been pulled back. 
Notice I don’t say ‘blown off by the wind’. 
When I realized that someone had pulled back the plastic and left the soil and seedlings uncovered, frankly I was extremely angry. I don’t understand why someone would do that. The seedlings had been uncovered and exposed to the cold air for at least three days (I remembered when I had last checked them). That is enough to not only let them die in the cold, but to allow the squirrels (of which there are many on campus) to dig up the soil to store their food and likely eat the seedlings. Or it could have been birds. Either way, when I arrived to find the experiment completely ruined, there were no seedlings left.   
I decided that even though there wasn’t anything growing in the Gould Garden anymore, I would leave the centre hoop in place because the tubes were still standing up properly. I dismantled the left and right hoops, and brought the pvc tubes into the greenhouse for storing. There is a very large sink in there that we don’t really use, so they will be staying there until next fall. The plastic sheets from the dismanlted hoops I placed over the centre hoop. The sheets are 10 feet by 25 feet, and are actually pretty heavy, so I hoped that the weight of two extra plastic sheets plus more bricks holding them down would discourage any more vandalizers, and it has.
In conclusion, to refer to the title and the very first paragraph, the Gould Garden hoop is the bane of my existence because in spite of everything, the tubes have warped and fallen down. So if you pass by them, don’t pay any attention to it. I hope the snow will cover it up soon and it will look less embarrassing. I’ve decided to leave the whole contraption there as an experiment to see how well the materials will last the winter. The Children’s Garden is quite protected and doesn’t face the same amount of weather elements that the Gould Garden does, so I really hope the material will be able to last the winter for future use.
The lesson of this gardening debacle: Next winter, whoever is in charge of Rye’s Homegrown, or if it’s still me, CUT THE TUBES IN HALF. Please spare us the horrid sight of a winter hoop gone wrong. 
To make me feel better here are some pictures of the Children’s Garden hoop, which I’m so thankful for because it has stayed standing up properly the entire time since we set it up. The smaller tube size obviously does work.
Quite pretty under snow

Isn’t it nice 🙂 Even under snow it’s staying up

A close up of the end of the hoop

The view from the front

Add caption

The snow cleared away

 The thing about this hoop though, is that I haven’t been able to look inside at all. When we set them up it was quite late in the season and the weather had already turned chilly. When I would come to check on it there would be condesation on the inside, so I figured it was doing fine, and doing what it’s supposed to do: trapping heat and becoming a little greenhouse. Then it got even colder and the rain water that collected on the edge of the plastic froze, and I really couldn’t look inside because I couldn’t lift the sheet. Now that there’s snow and it’s even more cold outside, I don’t want to lift up the plastic at all. Maybe the hoop is working and there’s a little bit of warmth trapped inside. I don’t want to let in cold air and ruin that climate. When it’s spring again we’ll find out!

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3 thoughts on “The bane of my existence…

  1. Hello Christine!(for some reason the Reply button isn't working, hopefully you see this comment!)I'm so glad you'd like to be involved! If you could contact us at foodsecurity.ryerson@gmail.com I can fill you in on how volunteers can help at the gardens and forward you the most recent updates we sent to our volunteers. 🙂

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