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Friday, September 22, 2023

Garden PVC Pipe Design With 3 Uses: Low Tunnel Frost Protecting, Garden Trellising, and Shade Cloth Sun Barrier

When I create something for my garden, I try and follow two rules when I design. It should be easy to assembly, take down, and store. It should also solve several problems when possible. This project meets those rules. 

Garden PVC Pipe Low Tunnel

The rib design requires a mallet and bending PVC pipe. Each rib can be set up or taken down in under 2 minutes. The low tunnel frame work can be used to hold plastic, as a mini-greenhouse, for starting crops earlier in the season or for extending the season into the winter. The plastic can be swapped out for shade cloth to prolong the growing period of cool crops or as a way to reduce the heat of the midsummer sun and keep warm crops producing. You can also use agfabric or insect fabric on the design, to protect crops from insect pests like cabbage worms. 

Space the ribs 2-3 feet a part. The video show you how to build it in more detail, but just hammer in the rebar to at least 1/2 its length and drop the rebar on. I will be doing a future post and video on how to put on the plastic when that time arrives for my garden. There are dozens of ways to do it, once you create the framework. I have over 1500 garden videos if you want to follow me on my YouTube channel: The Rusted Garden.


PVC Pipe
8-10 foot pieces of 1/2 inch PVC 
3 pieces will create 3 ribs and additional piece is needed if you want to use a piece across the top

18-24 inch pieces of rebar
You will need 2 pieces for each rib placement
(The rebar should be smaller than the opening of the PVC pipe)

Wire or Rope
Used to secure support pipes

Greenhouse Plastic or Painters Tarp 
Enough to cover the frame and leave 2 feet on each side

Shade Cloth
Enough to cover the top of the frame and cover 1/2 down each side

Insect Fabric
Enough to full cover the sides and opening on both ends

Mallet and Rebar

Rebar and PVC Pipe

Securing PVC Piping

I will be putting on the plastic in about 4 weeks, late October. The frame itself can be left up all season long and the 'rainbow' ribs can be strung and used as a trellis. I like that this design can stay out all year or the PVC pipe can be popped off the rebar and easily stored. The rebar could remain in the ground but it is also easily removed.  

Shade cloth allows you to keep the soil cooler which means cool crops won't flower and bolt and warm crops won't shut down, due to high soil temperatures, and stop producing. The ribs (below), could have cucumbers all over them with shade cloth protecting them from late July's sun. The design is versatile. 

Shade Cloth Extends Seasons & Maintains Growth

"A Garden Wants to Give"

Gary (The Rusted Garden)

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