Saturday, December 4, 2010

New Project

I am determined to make a small frame with clear plastic to fit over the table where I start my seeds, like a little greenhouse. If I can't get the big greenhouse, yet, at least I can have a place for seeds to start out of the rain.  I generally plant directly in the ground because the seedlings just drown in the seed trays, but I know some things, like spinach, do better here if you start them in trays.

I spent a very long time in Home Depot this morning trying to figure out how to fit it together with available pvc plumbing bits.  I had some ideas, but I had to see what parts there were.  A nice corner piece would be nice, but I was trying to recreate this with elbows and tees.

When I got things home, I realized I had bought two threaded tees, which I didn't want, and that what I had figured out in the store the first time might have been better than what I actually ended up with.  Well, I will just have to figure it out with what I got, and with whatever odds and ends we have left from building our house.  I will let you know how it goes!


Lisa Mi said...

Hi Nance - I just started about 25 tomato seedlings in the small peat trays last week on my kitchen counter and they are all growing and doing well. A few more days and then I'll plant them in little pots. Not sure what I'll do with so many tomato plants, but I'm sure not all of them will eventually survive & fruit.

I'm still waiting for Michael to rebuild the planter boxes. It's amazing how well things grow where we live.

Faith said...

I know exactly what you are running up against. :o)

Firstly, are you sure you want a square cornered frame, and not a hoop frame?

The square frame would be nice to be able to not hunch over, and could be built closer to the table, but the hoop would be a little easier to build, and would be a little better at resisting the wind.

Also, here gray conduit is cheaper than white PVC, and it's UV resistant. It's a little less rigid, so I'm not sure how it would do for the square frame cover.

As for the 3-way corner pieces, sadly, we've not been able to buy them locally either. I am guessing that as building materials become more expensive, and people do more and more with PVC, they'll start. But for now, you can order them from this place:

If you don't want to order you can make do with elbows and regular tees. You have to extend the wall beyond a tee and then turn it with an elbow.

So it's:
1. long pipe along wall
2. tee
3. 4" length of pipe
4. 90 degree elbow

This structure will be quite flimsy, so you probably should put supporting PVC pipes vertically in the middle of the walls as well, and maybe even horizontal braces.

The nice part about it is you can secure it to the ground with stakes and ropes at the corners and the frame should not blow away.

The half-round, mini-hoop-house, would require no tees. You can just drive rebar into the ground to slide the PVC pipes onto; or you can even drive short pieces of larger PVC pipe into the ground to slide the PVC hoops inside. 4 or 5 twenty-foot pipes would give you a 12 by 12 covered area over you table.

To add rigidity if it gets very windy where you are, you can simply screw some furring strips along the top and sides, using pipe strapping for instance, or you can even use a rope. Tie the rope at each hoop and leave 15 feet or so at each end to pull out tautly and stake each end to the ground.

Anyway, there are a few ideas. :oP


NancyDe said...

Lisa, nice! You may just end up with more tomatoes than you need -hmm, salsa! I really do love the Windward side, easy to grow things, close to the best beach in the entire world, as far as I am concerned, and now that there is the H-3, it isn't as hard to get to town.

Faith, I really thought about making an arch, but I really want to secure it to the table and thought the arch shape would just limit the vertical space in such a small structure. I had second thoughts about corners for the top, so I went back and got 45 degree bends so it will come out a bit arched. The base will be 2x4 feet. I was thinking tee and then maybe only a two inch pipe and then the elbow for the corners. The table is set up against the pump house and the garage, and the roof over the lanai blocks it from most of the wind. I would have a length up to a 45 degree elbow and then a short length and another elbow, short length to a cross....we'll see. My son and my husband are taking an interest, so I might have more help on my project than anticipated...

Chai Chai said...

I was going to say something to help when I hit the comment button but after reading Faith's detailed post I would feel silly. I will just give you so encouragement.

Go Nancy!

Faith said...


I am the one who feels silly. LOL I thought she was building a little area to set a table and tools inside, but she actually is only wanting a little top for a table.

So mine was pretty much overkill. :oP