Vegetables and Fruit forum: Hooping and Covering Raised Beds

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Maggidew
Feb 1, 2012 6:42 PM CST
OK, I'm back. I got really seriously depressed and the garden suffered from that as well as the heat and drought. One thing I noticed last season was that the hot peppers, like jalapenos, fared very well late into the heat and drought. So, this year I am preparing the raised beds for hot peppers (and a very few other things). I make a really mean hot pepper jelly - the base is pomegranate juice and it is outstanding!

Anyway, I have hooped the raised beds with PVC and went shopping online today for the clips/clamps to fix the plastic sheeting onto the PVC hoops. There's a wide variation in price/shipping cost for these darn 4" pieces of plastic.

Has anyone here bought these things? Does anyone have extras to sell? Or maybe I should ask: Do they work OK? Before I make yet another investment, maybe that last question should be first.

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Name: Paul
Allen Park, MI (Zone 6a)
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paulgrow
Feb 2, 2012 2:29 PM CST
Take a look at GrowesSupply.com
I buy all of my hoophose supplies there.
A great company
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Maggidew
Feb 5, 2012 10:38 AM CST
Thanks!
Baltimore County, MD (Zone 7a)
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bitbit
Feb 6, 2012 1:17 PM CST
I built PVC hoops for winter growing and made my own clips out of some kind of flexible tubing. I don't know what it's made of, but it was near the conduit (I used electrical conduit rather than plumbing PVC because it's UV-resistant). I just cut the tubing into pieces several inches long, then slit down the side so that I could slip it over the PVC pipe with my sheet plastic in between. It would've been really cheap (but labor-intensive), but the employee couldn't get the tubing to scan and actually gave it to me for free.

My homemade clips work well on the ends of the rows, where the plastic goes around the last rib, but tend to pop off the mid-row ribs when there's a heavy wind to puff up the plastic. I just use them on the ends, and no clips along the rest of the structure, and have no problems.

Here's a photo. Not sure if it clarifies things, but you can see my little clips near the bottom of each PVC rib. I've since switched to weighting down the end of the sheeting instead of using so many clips, but don't have a picture of that.

http://cubits.org/pics/2011-04-11/bitbit/a2bd76.jpg
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
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RickCorey
Feb 8, 2012 2:19 PM CST
I've thought about draping some chicken wire over the center of the tunnel, to reduce flapping.

I haven't tried it out yet.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
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Weedwhacker
Feb 11, 2012 11:50 AM CST
I've made the same clips for my hoop house as Bit described - from black plastic pipe that was right near the PVC at our Menard's store (more or less like Lowe's or Home Depot). It needs to be just about the same inside diameter as your PVC is outside diameter. For your raised beds, though, you might want to consider using the "caterpillar tunnel" method; the plastic sheeting needs to extend out past the ends a couple of feet and is bunched up and tied to stakes pounded into the ground, and cord is used to zigzag over the tunnel to hold the plastic, which can then be pushed up on the sides for access/ventilation. Here's a link to check for a picture (and much better description than mine):

http://www.growingformarket.com/articles/Caterpillar-Tunnel-...
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dollie
Feb 11, 2012 7:36 PM CST
Chickenwire works great!

A Daves Garden friend told me about using chickenwire several yrs. ago. I had never noticed until then that most folks living near the Gulf use this wire to keep everything in place on hoop houses, & protect against strong winds.

Maggi, I don't use any clamps with this wire. Just staple wire to pvc.
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Maggidew
Feb 23, 2012 12:22 PM CST
Cool! Thanks for all of the ideas, I will get the material and make my own. I think I will need to replace the plastic soon with some floating row cover to keep the bugsies out. Forecast is for a high in the 80s today - CRAZY Texas weather!
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
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tveguy3
Mar 1, 2012 10:56 AM CST
I was just wondering if anyone has used cattle pannels? They are a sronger welded wire pannel that comes in 4 X 15 or 16ft, I can't remember the exact length. I think they would be strong enough to be the hoops as well and support the plastic against wind. You could cut them in half and bend them over your raised bed. Just wondering, I've never tried it, but just thought about it. You can get them at your local farm supply type of store. The make really good trellises too.
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Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
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RickCorey
Mar 1, 2012 12:41 PM CST
I've read about cattle panels and they sound great. But I would have to find them and then get them home in my car - do they roll up?

Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
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tveguy3
Mar 1, 2012 1:19 PM CST
I don't think you can get them rolled up, or in a car. It would take a trailer, and you could bend them into a hoop to fit in it. I've hauled them in my horse trailer, but that's 25 feet of floor space. If you don't have a trailer, some rental places rent them by the hour. Or if you have a good fiend with a big truck! Some of the stores even deliver. If you know the size, you may even be able to cut them before you haul them home. That can be done with a big bolt cutter. Good luck!
I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. - Alexander the Great
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Mar 1, 2012 2:53 PM CST
The cut-in-the-store idea sounds promising. Or 'delivered', if I beef up my budget.

I may be getting too ambitious: really I only need 3-4 tiny low tunnels, ideally rigid enough for one person to pick up or at least flip over. Portable plastic cold frames.

If I had some 4-foot-wide lengths of cattle panel, I would probably try to bend it "the short way", so that the circumference of the hoop would be 48", straddling a 3-foot-wide bed.

I do have one irregular bed that gets to 5 or 5.5" wide in one place, that would benfit from running a cattle panel "up and over" ... maybe even a walk-in tunnel ... no, I'm defintiely getting too ambitious.

But I would like to make some really sturdy 4-foot-tall tomato cages! And then a 6-foot-tall tall film-covered tunnel to enclose them all in late summer, to keep the rain off and keep them warm when nights go below 60 ...

... no, first I need room to do all that. THEN I could get ambitious. What might be practical in this yard is some 5 gallon pots on the deck in half-sun, plus a small plastic tent over them for Spring and Fall warmth.
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
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tveguy3
Mar 1, 2012 3:23 PM CST
They make what are called hog pannels too, and they are smaller, maybe 3ft. by 15 or 16 ft. I'll have to go out and measure them, I have a bunch of fence made out of it.
I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. - Alexander the Great
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Mar 1, 2012 4:10 PM CST
Hog Panels sound great! 10 gauge wire? 8 gauge?

I could almost get by with just a spool of very heavy gauge wire for hoops,
but very light electrical conduit is what I will probably invest in, eventually.


Name: Horseshoe Griffin
Efland, NC (Zone 7a)
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Horseshoe
Mar 1, 2012 4:52 PM CST
Corey, you should try using #9 wire for your hoops. It is easy to work with and easily cut. It probably won't handle a snow load but I don't think you get much of that, right? You can get a fifty foot roll at the box stores fairly inexpensive.

tveguy, I use cattle panels and love 'em. I use them as trellises in the garden (peas, beans, even tying tomatoes to them) and just wire them to t-posts stuck in the ground. They're great!

I've also bent them (step on them and pull up to your desired curvature) and used to cover the boxed beds with or even out in the row garden over plants I want to either shade or block from insect or critter activity.

Around here they are usually 4ft X 16ft.

Shoe
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
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RickCorey
Mar 1, 2012 6:19 PM CST
>> #9 wire for your hoops.

Thanks! I'll look for that. I've been worrying about how I would bend electrical conduit (EMT?)

I seldom have snow that lasts more than a few days. I suppose we might get 1-2 inches in 2 of 3 years, but they melt soon. I could sweep the hoops as it fell, if need be.

And I've thought about one strong top rail, plus much lighter hoops and/or horizontal purlins. I was thinking of flimsy bamboo as the light componentt, but #9 steel wire might do the trick affordably.

Name: Horseshoe Griffin
Efland, NC (Zone 7a)
And in the end...a happy beginning!
Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Garden Sages I sent a postcard to Randy! I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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Horseshoe
Mar 1, 2012 6:23 PM CST
I'll take a pic tomorrow of some. It's fairly sturdy stuff, easy to work with, and cant be cut to length so you can have low tunnels, slim or wide tunnels, or higher ones. And I'm sure you know the wider the tunnels/covers the less rigidity they have.

But a picture is best. Will post again tomorrow.

Shoe
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Mar 1, 2012 6:30 PM CST
>> the wider the tunnels/covers the less rigidity

That's one reason that garden fencing or cattle panels fascinate me. A semi-rigid "two dimensional mesh" has more strength than hoops with no cross-piece re-inforcement.

At one time I thought I might use one strong top-rail, plus flimsy hoops reinforced by "weaving" thin bamboo culms over and under the hoops, with some lashing of corners.

BTW, I keep forgettin g to say: I really like the thread title "Hooping"!

I'm hooping to build several small low tunnels as cold frames to hold seedlings through cold spells in February and March (next year).

And I'm hooping I can build something stordy enoguh to go over indeterminate tomatoes this Fall so they don't get starchy and nasty after one cold night.

Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
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tveguy3
Mar 1, 2012 7:26 PM CST
I've seen on HGTV a long time ago, where hoops were made of smaller rebar, bent, and then covered with an old hose to keep from cutting the plastic. I have never tried it, but they even made a green house out of that. There was a company that sold clips to hold the plastic to the hoops too. You might try an internet search to see what you can find. So now you have more ideas then you can use, lol, but it's easier to tame a wild horse then add life to a dead on, as they say,
I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. - Alexander the Great
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Mar 2, 2012 12:08 PM CST
>> it's easier to tame a wild horse then add life to a dead one

I hadn't heard that before, but I'm going to use the next time someone suggests repairing and revising some really bad old software. Sometimes it really is much easier and cleaner to throw the old one away and start over.

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