I've got four beds filled with cool weather crops. The arugula is thriving along with lettuce, radishes, kale, turnips and other greens. Every year I cover these plants with a floating row cover, it's a spunbound translucent fabric that acts as a greenhouse at the end of the gardening season.
It will keep the plants protected from the really cold stuff and when the sun comes out the greenhouse effect is in full swing.
I usually just drape the row cover over the plants, but last season all that snow crushed them. I wanted to figure out how to make hoop houses cheaply.
The row covers are five feet wide and 25 feet long, but are available in many sizes. These were about $12 and I'll use them for at least three seasons.
At my local hardware store I found the perfect hoops. They are precut 12 gauge wire that are six feet long for .69 cents each. They are used in the installation of drop celings.
I bury three sides of the cover with mulch and dirt and use rocks on the side that I want to harvest from. That way it's easy to remove and re-install the row cover.
I'm confident with a mild winter or a little snow cover that I'll be picking most of the winter.I'll let you know how it goes.