Monday, September 01, 2008

Extend Growing Season 6 weeks both Spring and Fall

Extend Growing Season 6 weeks both Spring and Fall

Author: Jim Kennard

All who are interested in extending your growing season - particularly with vertical plants - may want

to save the following description of covered T-Frames. You can plant 4-6 weeks earlier in the Spring,

and harvest 4-6 weeks later in the fall if you do it properly.

In a garden with 18" X 30' beds and 3 1/2' aisles, place 8 T-Frames at 10' intervals in two adjacent

beds parallel with the inside stakes, so that the 4" X 4" posts are 3 1/2' apart. The top of the "T"

should be 32" long, and thus the width of both together is 6' 6".

For stability, nail each set of two T-Frames together - bridging the gap between them - with 6 1/2'

long 2" X 4"s. Next, tie all T-Frames together lengthwise using 6 - 10' 2 X 4's. Now you have a 6

1/2' X 30' greenhouse frame covering two Grow-Beds or Grow-Boxes.

Buy 32 - 3/4" 45 degree PVC elbows and 1" pipe straps. Nail or screw the straps and elbows at 2-foot

intervals along both sides of the 2 X 4 frame, with the elbows facing up and to the center of the


Buy 16 - 10'-long pieces of 3/4" PVC Schedule 200 pipe, 16 - 3/4" pipe straps, and 4 - 8' pieces of 1"

X 2" lumber. Cut the PVC pipe and the 1" X 2" lumber to to 7 1/2' lengths. Nail the 1 X 2's

together, using the 6" pieces, making a single piece 30' long. Nail or screw the 3/4" pipe straps to

the 1 X 2" wood at 2-foot intervals, on the same side of the wood as the 6" pieces which hold the wood

together. Insert the 3/4" PVC pipes through the straps. With the wood on top, insert the PVC pieces

into the 45 degree PVC elbows - creating the arched roof.

Buy a roll of 6-mil 24'-wide greenhouse plastic at least 37' long (do NOT use construction plastic.

It will become brittle and tear within 3-4 months). Cover the greenhouse, with 3 1/2' overlapping on

each end.

Buy 8 - 1"-long eye bolts and 130' of 1/4" nylon rope. Attach eye bolts on the side of each T-Frame T

- 1" in from the edge and 1" down from the top. Cut rope into 8 - 16' lengths. Tie one end of rope

to each eye bolt. Hammer a 3 1/2" nail into the top of the 2" X 4" on the upper outside edge near the

eye bolt. Tie short loops into ropes at 10', 12' and 14' to give 3 levels of opening the sides of

your greenhouse plastic.

Buy 16 - 8'-long pieces of 1" X 2" lumber. Cut all to 7 1/2' lengths. Cut 2 into 4 - 3 3/4' lengths.

Place wood on both side edges of greenhouse plastic along both sides of greenhouse and screw

together, sandwiching the plastic between the two pieces of wood. Alternate lengths of 1" X 2"

between 3 3/4' and 7 1/2', to make the entire 30' length strong. Roll plastic sides up in warm

weather, and lower in cold weather.

Fold and attach plastic on ends to secure an air-tight covering in cold weather, and open when weather

is warm.

After a few of you handy builders have done this, you can help me improve the instructions, and

perhaps provide all of us with some graphic illustrations.

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