How-to Build a Hoop House

All Tucked In  Our mild winters make cool-season gardening a pleasure most of the time. For those occasional nights when temperatures drop below freezing, you can protect a 4-foot by 8-foot garden bed by building a homemade hoop house. All you need is a roll of plastic sheeting, rebar and PVC pipe.

Wait until summer to treat lawn for mole crickets   The warm weather of late February and early March brings mole crickets out from their winter hibernation in the soil, but don’t grab the pesticides just yet. Adult mole crickets are hard to kill, and their days are numbered anyway. Work with nature to get the most effective results. That incessant chirping at night is the male calling the female to mate. Once that’s done, he dies and she flies off to lay eggs in several places, creating those telltale tunnels and small piles of soil in your lawn. After she lays her eggs, she dies. Pesticides applied now won’t kill the eggs, so wait until the eggs have hatched but the nymphs can’t yet fly — mid-June through July. If you don’t see any evidence of mole crickets, use a soap solution to flush out any that might be present: Dissolve one ounce of liquid soap in two gallons of water and pour over a 3-foot by 3-foot square. It only takes a few minutes for any mole crickets that are present to emerge. If you see more than five or six, treat the area with a pesticide labeled for use on mole crickets and follow the directions carefully. 

Your Monthly Garden Chores 


  • Prune roses, removing dead or damaged canes back to the ground.
  • Prune crape myrtles, removing any crossing or rubbing branches. Do not shear the top; it will weaken the branch structure and contrary to myth, it doesn’t produce any more blossoms.
  • Plant seed potatoes for mid-summer harvest.
  • If you have cold-damaged plants in your garden, resist the urge to prune them until all danger of frost is over.
  • Fertilize citrus trees.


  • Fertilize camellias and azaleas after they finish blooming, but wait until June to prune to preserve next year’s flower buds
  • Wait until April to fertilize your lawn; the soil is still too cool to absorb the nutrients.
  • Plant summer-blooming bulbs, tubers and corms such as lilies, ornamental gingers, agapanthus and gladiolas.
  • Watch for pests on new growth on perennials and shrubs, and use an insecticidal soap as needed.
  • Fertilize non-citrus fruit trees.
Categories: Gardening