After the devastation of last year's seedling fiasco (read about that here), I was more than a little anxious about hardening off my seedlings this year.
My mini hoop-houses (more about that here) have been working so well this spring that I decided to construct something similar to protect my tender tomato and pepper seedlings during their hardening off period. The only real difference between this hoop-house and the others I've made this season is that this one is not built on top of a raised bed.
Keith cut a length of rebar into approximately 12-inch sections, which I then pounded into the ground, four on each side. Then we simply slipped the CPVC down over the rebar and made the hoops. Several clamps hold the plastic in place, and the chunks of firewood help to hold the plastic against the ground to prevent cold air from seeping into the hoop-house.
I've been watching the weather report for weeks now, monitoring the night-time temperatures for frost-warnings, and even with the threat of frost seemingly behind us, and the hoop-house in place I was still nervous about my seedlings' first night outside. However this morning when I apprehensively went to check to see how they'd fared, I was elated to see that they were all just as I'd left them the night before.
Yes my tomatoes are leggy, but they're free from frost-damage, and once planted in the garden they'll grow normally and produce plenty of delicious tomatoes. I can almost taste them now!