Sometimes it can seem that gardening kit costs soon add up, but more often than not there are easy DIY shortcuts that will save you a fair bit of money. Making your own hoops for a fleece/net tunnel is really easy and a great way to protect brassicas from pests.
All you need is a few equal lengths of old hosepipe measuring around 100-130cmcm (we’ve used an old drip hose) and a few short lengths of bamboo, approx 40-50cm long.
Simply push two bamboo lengths halfway into the soil on either side of the row of plants you wish to cover (about 2 foot apart should be fine, but play around with distances to suit your plot). These will form the base of the hoop, holding it steady. Now thread the hose pipe onto the bamboo at each end, pushing it right down to the soil if you can, to make the hoop. Repeat this at 2-3 foot intervals as pictured.
Once you’ve got your frames in place, you can cover them with a sheet of horticultural fleece or netting to protect plants from pests (or even clear polythene to make a mini greenhouse). Be sure to secure the cover to the ground – you can use heavy stones or pieces of wood.