Two notes; one important, the other just interesting. I’m sure you can guess what they are based on the title.
1) Reading the instructions on the back of seed packets is important. Reading those instructions right before you plant seeds is important, and following those instructions is very important. When I planted carrots, I didn’t read the instructions, so I planted way too deep. Only a few of my carrots came up (notice the empty space in the picture). I decided to replant, properly this time. It is a little late for a first planting, but since the hoop-houses worked so well in the spring, I’m guessing that I will get a few more weeks out of the fall/early winter. Therefore a late second planting will be ok.
2) Once thing I didn’t consider when I planted in the hoop-houses was that protecting the plants wouldn’t force them to adapt to the open environment that they would be exposed to later in the season. There is a broccoli plant that is a perfect example of this. If you look at the picture carefully, you’ll notice that the sprouting broccoli plant is laying on the ground for a few inches, before it starts to stand up. This particular plant was standing straight up from it’s origin in the ground before I opened up the hoop-houses. Once I opened them, the wind started to blow, and the plant slowly tilted over. I tried to prop it up with some mulch, hoping that it would get stronger, but it decided that going-with-the-flow was a better idea. Next time I check, the plant was lying down and started growing up. The rest of the plants were strong enough to stay standing, but all of them are doing great.