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making a cold frame/ low tunnel

Posted by pvel 7 (My Page) on
Fri, Oct 17, 08 at 18:10

hi, i have got eliot coleman's book four season harvest and have decided to build a low tunnel to grow vegetables during the winter.
my plan is to use 2 by 4 lumber to build a frame 6 x 12 feet
then use 1/2 inch pvc for the hoops and cover it with poly film.
would appreciate any help or suggestions.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: making a cold frame/ low tunnel

I've never read the book, but I have a similar set-up over my raised beds right now. I used 3/4" irrigation tubing (about $12 for 100' at Home Depot here) and used 1" copper pipe hangers (I think that's what they're called, maybe straps? U-shaped things ...) that I also got at HD. Make sure you check the prices on different packs. I think the one we got had 12 and was less than $2.

We also cut off about 1" pieces of the tubing, cut the side and use them for clips to hold the row cover. I'd be careful about using them on plastic though, may poke holes in it.

The tubing does have quite a bit of sway in the wind with the row covers, but while covered in plastic to the ground, it's been stable. I noticed a huge improvement in the temps of the beds when I covered them with blankets under the plastic. It was 29 or so the other night, with the blankets nothing went below maybe 35? I go out in the morning and remove blankets, and sometimes plastic so the plants get more sunshine, and wrap it all back up mid-afternoon, before the chill comes back (I am in zone 5). They heat up fast in the morning. They get up to the high 80's - low 90's pretty quickly (I'd say by 10 or 11 am). That's with 50's outside

I'm using a 6 mil plastic. It likely won't survive a long time in the sun, but I had it, so that's what I'm using.

RE: making a cold frame/ low tunnel

thanks greenbean.
i started on the wood frame today and should have the pvc hoops in place by tomorrow. i will be using the u shaped pipe straps as you did.
now i am shopping for 6 mil film online. it is pricey. about $30 plus $10 shipping for a 20x10 foot sheet. this is with uv protection and a 4 yr warranty.where did you get your film?

RE: making a cold frame/ low tunnel

I actually bought it from a guy on CraigsList this summer. Check Home Depot, Lowe's or a farm & ranch store around. I didn't get the UV stabilized kind, just regular construction type stuff. I think it's about $50 for a 10' x 100' roll maybe?

RE: making a cold frame/ low tunnel

  • Posted by rb55 6 Indianapolis (My Page) on
    Tue, Nov 4, 08 at 16:49

I do this with landscape timbers and half inch pvc. i just set rebar spikes into the landscape timbers every 2 ft. and leave about 6 or 8 inches sticking up. i put the pvc on one rebar and bow it over to the other side shoving it over another rebar making the bow for the roof. i run a single support down the center of the tunnel supported at the ends by steel posts an in the center if needed (depends on what i use for support). i tape the bows to the center support to keep them from shifting out of place. cover with 6 mil from Lowes rolling the edges in a 1 x 2 and nailing it to landscape timber. leave plenty of excess plastic on one end and roll it around a 4 x4 or something for an access point. this is about as cheap as it gets. Greenhouse film is not very cost effective and keeping it in good shape for reuse is dificult. Note: the 100 ft. rolls are cheaper per foot. Check local greenhouses for film suppliers if that is what you want. Most of them will help and shipping can run up cost. They may know a local supplyer.

RE: making a cold frame/ low tunnel

I open out my tomato baskets,place it over the crop I want to protect,cover w/ greenhouse film(thick clear painters plastic will work) then use the cane poles I used earlier for pole beans to roll up extra plastic on the sides then pen it down w/ large landscape staples. No more exspense and I get double duty in the garden


Here is a link that might be useful: 4seasons

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