I get a length of pvc that is just a tad larger diameter than which diameter the hoops will be. Then, I cut it up into 12" sections and pound these into the ground around where the hoop ribs will go. Space them 12" apart. Then, just bend the ribs over and set them into the anchors on either side of your beds. I managed to retrieve all of my anchors when I moved by wetting the ground and using a pair of pliers? to grab em' They came up really easily.
Here's a collage of another option. The stiped sheet is my hoop, cause I hadn't bought the plastic yet. I've now got two rolls of clear plastic, 4 mil thick that I'll be using this season. And, if you notice, my ribs were spaced too far apart -- next set-up will have the ribs 12" apart. Also, in the sample pic, you can afix a brace piece down the center of the hoops for more stability, although I've not seen a lot of people doing that...
P.S. ALWAYS make sure your hoop is ventilated either by propping open the end(s), or you can punch holes all over it. I'm more inclined to control airflow by propping the ends. The holes will allow water to get inside, much like the WSing jug concept. Of course, if you want rainwater/water go for the holes!
No need to cut it. I've driven home with my 10' pieces hanging out the window. Of course, when the wind hits 'em they start humming like an Aboriginal pipe! Drive slowly, carefully, hold on to em, and you'll make it.
Consider how much height you'd have bending only 5' over a 36" span. There's a calculation somewhere that will let you figure out how much height you'd have, but I'd have to Google it somewhere online.
Yes. Your beds are 3 ft. wide, right? 36"? Bending my 10' length over my concrete pad that was 60" wide gave me a height approximately 3-1/2 to 4 feet at the middle of the arch. I had my veggies in 5-gallon eBuckets, so I guess I needed that much height to accommodate the height of the plants in the buckets.
Sure wish I could figure out the calculation that would tell us how much height you'd get from 10' spanning 36" wide...
You've got some time for turkey and eye dropper basting? Go find us a formula! (smile)
Gymgirl - I couldn't find a formula, so I laid a 36" yard stick on the floor. Made an "arch" out of a 5' tape measure. The apex of the "hoop" was roughly at knee height - about 20" - that's as high as I need the hoop tunnels to be. I can cut each 10' PVC pipe in half.
The tunnels need to keep birds from eating the young peas! I haven't been able to grow peas for the past two seasons because birds eat the green shoots as soon as they appear above ground. Once the peas have reached a good size, they manage to stay ahead of the birds pecking at them.
paulgrow, that is a really neat set up! And Gymgirl, I just seem to love your ideas. I keep printing them off and now need to go get more color ink cartrige for the printer! You guys rock!
HoneybeeNC, I've used old sheers for rowcover. You know, the sheer drapes my mother and grandmother had. They work well in white or off white. They let most of the sun in, wash up nice in the washing machine, and keep most bugs and birds out. I've found some of my supply at yard sales and some on clearance at Wally World. Some of them are too heavy, just the light weight ones.
I am humbled, but glad you're using these ideas.
I've been toying with the idea of using tulle fabric (the lightest weight bridal fabric stuff) as a cover for my tomato plants in the spring. I'm hoping to keep the stinkbugs from laying eggs on the plants. The fabric is sheer enough to let air and light through, but I don't think the weave will allow a full grown stinkbug to land anywhere on the plant to deposit eggs. If it works, we might finally have a weapon against the dreaded Stinkbugs!
Close observation of your picture shows what seems to be a metal brace stabilizing the ribs, inside the cover. Please post more on this.
Got the plastic at Farm Tek, they have a good variety of widths. Excellent customer service. You want a heavy plastic 6 or 8 mil, it can be reused for several years.Here's the link http://www.farmtek.com/farm/supplies/home. They have a great printed catalog also.
Yes, I put braces between the hoops. They tend to move sideways. Get the 1/2" galvanized bars at Lowes or Home Depot in the fence dept.. Very inexpensive.
Michigan State University has a great hoophouse program to help farmers in cold climates harvest year round.
I visited a hoop house trial at MSU a couple of years ago. It was 5 degrees outside with a 20 mph wind. Walked into the H.H. and this is what I saw, lush greens. Temp inside was in the 20's, no heat whatsoever. Picked the lettuce and ate it right on the spot.
I've been experimenting and through trial and error have a pretty good setup I just scaled down what I saw at MSU..
That was a good video. I tried making one over raspberries last fall with little success. Now I know how to build it better. I live in Vermont where it can get to 20 below. It doesn't seem like it could be used throughout the whole winter here. If I made one in the fall could I plant vegetables in it in March?
Ya'll could save a little money on those "hoop loops" by buying #9 wire at your local Home Despot or Lowe's. Although they wouldn't have the string loops already built in it isn't that much trouble to wrap the string around each hoop twice for smaller garden beds like most folks have.
The wire comes in various sized rolls and you can cut the lengths whatever size you want to fit your beds as well as determine the height of the hoops.
Horseshoe - I had considered buying wire, as you suggested, but then I would have to cut it, which means I would have to purchase a wire cutter. Then I would be concerned about the wire hurting my hands, so I would have to purchase gloves to protect them. I would also have to figure out how to cut the wire to uniform lengths...
I could go on, but as you can tell, I really did consider your suggestion.
For $23.10 plus shipping the hoops will arrive on my doorstep ready to use.
terri_emory - Yes, I'll let you know how it works out.
I hear ya, Honeybee. Sometimes it's best to let others do the work for you so you can get on with other things; I know I do that sometimes. By the way, I never saw how big those hoop loops are on the link you gave. Was there more info someplace and I just didn't see it?
Horseshoe - I plan to start my peas under the hoops to keep the birds from eating the young shoots. We haven't had home-grown peas for the past two seasons! The first year we had a great crop, but it was also our first year in our home here in Charlotte, and birds had not started to call our place their "home"
I love birds! Even the dog has learned not to chase them away.
I LOVE home-grown peas! I broadcast a bed like most people sow grass seed! I just wish I'd learn to grow so many I have to freeze some but unfortunately we eat them all, or friends come by to hang out in the pea patch.
Perfect use for those hoops. What kind of peas are you sowing this year?
I've been growing Sugar Snap or Super Sugar Snap for the past 3 years. I only have to protect the tiny seedlings. Once they get a little bigger, growing up a piece of 4-foot fence, I keep birds away from the plants with a plastic owl. I move it from fence post to fence post every day so the birds don't get used to it being in the same place all the time.
Shoe, often I will purchase something and figure out how they made it. And then improvise and make more myself. I may just buy the wire hoops and then get some PVC and make more hoops from that. That way I can see what works best for me. I usually use cattle panels. Those are easy to bend long wise, but not so easy to ben height wise--if you see what I mean.
I have the crow problem right now myself. So I think hoops and row cover will be a good thing.
Shoe - I'm positive it's birds, not rabbits eating the peas. I've actually seen cardinals pecking at them! They like the tendrils best, but also peck off the ends of the actual pods. If the peas manage to set the pods, at least we only lose the ends.
I haven't seen crows in the garden, and I think I woul know if they were there 'cause those birds can't ever be quiet!
David - I have thought about trying to protect the Sugar Snap peas, but can't figure out how to cover the seeds. The poles and twine I have for them to grow on are in the way of any protection I could provide.
Are there any dwarf varieties of Sugar Snaps? I should check on that for next year.
Birds know a good thing to eat, don't they Honeybee! I have a pea variety that is grown strictly for the tendrils and shoots; I'll have to check my seed larder to see if the name is on them. I think it was something Oriental.
I would think you could drape remay/row cover over your peas. Maybe that would keep the birds away.
Terri, I use cattle panels, too, but keep them as is attached to T-posts in the garden and grow beans and/or tomatoes up them. Sure makes it easy to put up a trellis that way.
A cattle panel is a pre-fabricated portion of heavy fencing. It is usually made from 1/4 (or so) rods welded together and galvanized. It is flexible enough that an arch can be made from a full 16 or 20-foot length, but stiff enough and heavy enough to be a very strong trellis (or greenhouse structure).
My dad gave me a roll of 6 or 10 gauge concrete wire that he found in his garage..He says: I quote the same words as he says..LOL.. We are using that for the beans I am growing here--which means..he is gowing his speckled lima beans on it. here at my place...we both love speckle lima beans..lol..making arches and be able to sit under it and drink our coffee..I thought..mmm..I have benches made from pine logs so why not!..lol..
[quote="HoneybeeNC"]podster - Do you think a similar arbor would be good to grow charentais melons or cucumbers on? Make them easier to pick I should imagine.
This arch was tall enough to walk under and they said worked well with beans.
This will be my first year growing Savor ~ Charentais so I don't know how long the vines will grow.
I would think you would definitely have to bag the melons on this arch.
I know some of the small cucumber vines wouldn't travel far enough to cover, some would probably do fine.
I would think a cattle panel staked at a 45° angle would be good to grow some of the vines with larger fruits maybe?
I was curious as to the length of vines because the cattle panel length is 14 feet long. That would give you an idea how tall an arch it would be.
The lady that owns the one in the photo I posted says her husband who is over 6 feet tall can walk upright thru the tunnel and pick beans over head. I suspect your melon vines wouldn't cover it.
Perhaps you could companion plant with other vines?
I've grown watermelon on trellis/fences before, the bigger ones I had to support with a sling. However, this past year I grew cheese pumpkin on a fence/trellis along with pole beans and it worked great.
I'm sure your cukes would grow on a fence/trellis just fine, Honeybee, and your melons, too. Maybe next year you can try a cattle panel. Fencing is fairly cheap though and will get you going this year.
podster - the idea of having more time to garden is the best part of being unemployed! I figure I can raise fewer of each vegetable and get the same yield just by being home and giving the garden 7-day-a-week attention, rather than the two-day-a-week on the weekends it has been receiving the past three years.
Shoe - those pumpkins probably did much better being raised up like that. Is that Powdery Mildew I see in the photo? I know how susceptible the squash family can be to it :(
I've thought of growing climbers along our fence line - but am afraid it would invite deer to jump into the garden! I have a friend who lives several miles from here, and she planted tomatoes along her fence, and that's exactly what the deer did.
These panels are a great idea. In the past I used chicken wire. What a mess it was every year to unroll it in the spring and roll it back up in the fall. I gave up growing pole beans and peas because of the hassle. Thanks for a great idea. I'm excited because a Tractor Supply store is being built in the town next door!
Honeybee, nope, not P-mildew, those ugly leaves are from a hard drought this past summer and also possibly from squash bugs poking their little noses on them! I don't seem to get PM very much, notice how the other leaves are nice and green? At my other garden north of town we got about 5 or 6 more pumpkins/squash off 3 plants, not too bad considering no irrigation.
Deer love tomatoes (and so do dang squirrels!) but I haven't had them mess with squash and such. Heck, it might even keep them out of your garden.
I love it ~ date night! How well matched is that!?!! I have been to Farm & Fleet when visiting my Mom. It is a cool store too. They have plants and critters for sale as well at the time of year I've been there.
Well I have been lurking. I am so thankful I found your thread.
I have for many years planted with my square burpee tomato cages and wrapped each cage. This was very time consuming and limited amount of greens I could grow. I have to get a head start because of our heat.
I have had workers on site for many days and today we got to the vegetable bed on the east side Northeast side of our home. Our lot is 150' deep x 125' wide. I had raised bed built in on each side. The other side is used as a holding garden and herbs.
My workers did not understand what I wanted them to do with the 3/4" PVC and the 2' rebar. I took my laptop out to the raised bed and showed them your photos. They got it right away.
The photo is the bed, after it was double dug, twice, and then the hoops were installed. They PVC is 10' long but I wanted them tall. The bed is 3 1/2' wide. They cannot be seen over the fence or from the front or back landscape park. I am not going to do a continuous cover. I am going to cover about every three hoops which should cover 4 tomato cages. When I get them covered I will take another photo.
A cold spell is coming in Sunday and our high will be 47. So I am going to get it planted and covered before Sunday. I am going to lay down some black plastic garbage bags tomorrow to try and heat up the soil.
Again, thanks for all the great and helpful ideas. Sharon