Updated: Mar 7, 2022
In certain ways, the easiest installation with the fewest resources has been the most successful. I have harvested from this bed of low growing greens right from my front walkway more than any other of the higher, complex structures, requiring more infrastructure, plastic and fabric covers. Pictured below today, March 5th, after another cold spell. It was picked clean a month and a half ago and we have had a colder than normal winter here in Southern Ontario with night time temps consistently dipping around the -15 to -25 mark.
This set up is less versatile in terms of crop choice, can not house a grow light and can't be used for holding shade cloth in summer but the benefits tip the scales if placed in a sunny location with southern exposure. I have used loop hoops close together, with a top structure and festive lights. Because the sides and ends are not buried, heavy metal posts and concrete bocks are required to keep the plastic secure and inaccessible to rodents. I have also used 7mm plastic, which will withstand more snow pressure when pulled taut. I did this bed low and as an after thought, so as not to block the sun for the higher bed on the north side. And since our railing was rotten and we had to remove it, I thought I'd string our incandescent holiday lighting through here instead. I only turn them on during the coldest nights and otherwise move the fabric covers over in the day to let the sun in and cover the bed again for the evening. The snow is removed as needed.
The midwife who brought my oldest and biggest baby into this world is planning on actually digging into the ground to build a winter growing structure called a walapini. She informed me that in some cultures this is a practice, as the heat holds thermal energy. There is wisdom in this. Thank you for this insight, Shirley Grove.