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Hinged tulle/plastic bed cover

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Hinged tulle/plastic bed cover

Post  Pepper on 3/23/2013, 9:27 pm

Last year I used a "PVC Teepee" to cover my bed with tulle. It was very awkward esp when opening to 'tend' the crops. It did not do such a good job sealing either. It was three pvc tubes bent across the bed and stuck into the bed with another tube screwed to the apex to hold it's shape. the tulle was draped over the frame and clipped to another tube laying on the ground on all sides.

I had to make a better mouse trap! My first attempt I made a frame to go around the bed wooden frame. When I put the "teepee" poles in it the pvc bottom rails bent so bad there was no way it could sit on the bed surface much less seal. So I then opened the size to let sit on the ground.
Then someone in the forum discussed using flex water tubing 125psi for the 'hoops'. Yep it worked like a charm. Well almost it still warps the bottom frame but not enough to stop the design. The misses asked how would the grass get cut with it resting on the grass. So I readjusted the tube links and figured out the hinge mechanism.
The tulle will be allowed to drape past the bottom frame near to the ground similar to the above pic.
In place on the bed

Hinged open to the left

Hinged to the right


The parts list is as follows: 4ea three way corner 1/2 inch pvc

Since my beds are 8 ft I need two "t"s. Not needed for a 4x4 bed.

A 4x4 bed would need 2 ea 1/2 inch PVC tubes sold in 10 ft length. Mine needs 4 pvc tubes. The pvc tube across the top is zip tied to the hoops through holes drilled in the pvc.

I got a 100 ft roll of the flex water pipe for about $17, I cut each of 3 hoops about 8 feet long. A 4x4 would need only two.

When assembling the frame measure and cut the tubes so that it is flush with the OUT SIDE of the bed rails. Be careful how you align the corner connector; be sure the connector is turned so that the smallest inside lip is up( this way the flex pipe goes all the way to the bottom). I took a drill bit to 'open up' the top opening on the "T" connector also so the flex pipe would bottom out.

The hinge mechanism is made with 10 ea 3/4 in EMT clamps and screws( 8 ea for 4x4s). The clamps on each 'hinge' end are screwed to the side of the bed with no bending necessary.

The clamps in the center and the ends ( hold down clamps) are to be bent to hold the frame in place even in windy conditions( 8ft beds need two bent clamps at about the 3 & 5 ft marks).

8 ft center hinges it needs two hold down clamps

To lift ;hinge; the frame off to one side bend the pvc tube from under the end and the side hold down clamps the swing it off the bed.

I used the string to help hold the hoops more square. I still have not figured out how to make the hoops straight. I used way over sized paper clamps to hold the plastic on during the cold. This shot was before the string. I will use split flex tubing with the tulle.


I hope this is easier to understand than to write.
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Re: Hinged tulle/plastic bed cover

Post  bnoles on 3/23/2013, 10:36 pm

Thanks so much for the fantastic pics and tutorial pepper. I really like your flip top idea and excited to get started on building 2 for my ground beds. This looks like a great improvement over having to lift the whole structure off the bed to work on it.

Your time in doing this is really appreciated!

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Re: Hinged tulle/plastic bed cover

Post  quiltbea on 3/23/2013, 11:22 pm

Great job. I know it will be worth all the work it took.
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My struggles are over

Post  briasandia on 3/24/2013, 1:09 am

Thank you so much for such detailed instructions. I have been wrestling with my hoops for far too long. This is by far the best answer I've seen. Thanks for sharing!
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Re: Hinged tulle/plastic bed cover

Post  Pepper on 3/24/2013, 7:39 am

glad you\'re here to the forum briasandia. QB hope you are right, writing up the process was harder than construction.
Bob the difficulty moving the old system is what drove me to try a new idea. This design actually takes less material in pvc than the old way I was using. I still have several issues to work out.
a) The hoops seem far to floppy they will hold the weight but don't hold their shape like the pvc hoops did. Even with the high wind during the last cold snap they held. The string is necessary to keep the hoops over the ends. A 4x4 with the hoops crossed in the center should be much more stable in holding it's shape.
b) The 4x8 will still slide some when open; does not stay centered on the bed rail. Careful clamp placement should help with this trouble.
c) I intend to use split sections of the flex tubes to attach the tulle; app 4 in lengths. I will also document this next week when I attach it. I have found a tin snip will split the tube fairly easy.

More to come....
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Re: Hinged tulle/plastic bed cover

Post  Pepper on 3/25/2013, 2:07 pm

Bob you nailed it when you called a "Flip Top".

So from now on Flip Top it is called!!!! thanks
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Re: Hinged tulle/plastic bed cover

Post  bnoles on 3/25/2013, 3:59 pm

LOL.... I just called it as I saw it and I saw it as a flip top. jocolor

You really did a nice job on this design and I think many folks will benefit from your taking the time and trouble to share it with us.


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Re: Hinged tulle/plastic bed cover

Post  gwennifer on 3/25/2013, 4:54 pm

Ah, I'm so glad you showed how you made your "hinges". Love that you can flip it open from either side. Very clever. thanks
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Re: Hinged tulle/plastic bed cover

Post  Pepper on 5/18/2013, 6:29 pm

Having worked with this 'flip top' for a while now I believe I can label it a flop! It is much too flimsy and does not seal out the cabbage moths very well. Being hinged on the long side causes problems with hitting the plants in the adjacent bed. Also makes it difficult to work along the 'hinged' side for further than a few squares. I can not remember who posted this design:

I think I will try it next. It seems to address the problems I have identified with my "flip top". Instructions found here:
http://swingncocoa.blogspot.com/2013/04/covered-green-house.html
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Re: Hinged tulle/plastic bed cover

Post  yolos on 5/18/2013, 8:38 pm

Sorry your flip top didn't work like you hoped. That other flip top shown looks like a better fit. The frame looks like it will sit down without any gap on the bed and flipping to the short side looks like you would be able to work better. This is the one I have in mind for extending the season but still not sure if it will be tight enough fit to keep the cold air out.
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Re: Hinged tulle/plastic bed cover

Post  Pepper on 5/18/2013, 9:49 pm

I agree about the cold air. I am hoping to stop bugs and moths. I am thinking that door hinges will be the strongest best option in this application. I put the short boards on the ends of both 8 ft sections(now long side is 8 ft 3 in) so now I have to rip a 2x4x10 to get my long sides.

You know with the solid frame the plastic could be cut long enough to all but touch the ground; there by almost sealing out the wind. It could be folded under the rail to help seal that gap. Since it can be stapled to the wood it may do better than we are thinking in the cold.
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Re: Hinged tulle/plastic bed cover

Post  yolos on 5/18/2013, 10:12 pm

Yes I have already thought about extending the plastic down the sides to help keep out the cold. If you try this with tulle or plastic, let me know.

I put tulle over my brasicas. Not a single hole in any leaf. I only had to get into the beds near harvest time so the tulle cover is not my priority. But because we get lows of 32 and highs of 65 the same day in the fall and spring, the plastic covering has to be removed every morning before I go to work and then re-covered when I get home. So this fall I will try making one of these.
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Hinged tulle

Post  Frenchbean on 5/19/2013, 5:34 am

wow thank you so much for this. In England this is selling in seed catalogues for £70. Wonderful post thanks Don't know what £70 is in dollars

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Re: Hinged tulle/plastic bed cover

Post  Pepper on 5/20/2013, 7:08 am

Egg on face again..... The hinge frame has end boards too; so if I do the same style ends as my bed frame the 8 ft long board will match identically with the bed frame. I gotta start thinking before speaking and planning. I really think I wanted an excuse to get out of work. hehehehehhe
Saved everyone else from saying/thinking it.
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Re: Hinged tulle/plastic bed cover

Post  boffer on 5/20/2013, 10:01 am

yolos, am I understanding correctly that you're concerned about air leaks at the mating surface between the box and the hoop frame? Suggestion 1: get a roll of vinyl foam weatherstipthat has self-stickie stuff on one side. It comes in various sizes. Put it on the hoop frame. I've used it between the glass and wood box of a cold frame. Suggestion 2: When the weatherstrip I used wore out from kneeling on it, I didn't replace it. I didn't notice any difference with or without a good seal. It's not critical to have an airtight seal. Sorry for the ugly post; I don't seem to be able to use a line break.
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Re: Hinged tulle/plastic bed cover

Post  Pepper on 5/20/2013, 12:56 pm

thanks boffer

Glad to have you back posting!!!!!!
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Re: Hinged tulle/plastic bed cover

Post  artisticfoodie on 5/20/2013, 1:24 pm

@bnoles wrote:Thanks so much for the fantastic pics and tutorial pepper. I really like your flip top idea and excited to get started on building 2 for my ground beds. This looks like a great improvement over having to lift the whole structure off the bed to work on it.

Your time in doing this is really appreciated!

agreed, I have those same clamps, however, I screwed mine to the top to fold it down. I was wondering how to make it act like a hinge instead. Well now I know screw them to the side instead!! Such an easy answer. Love this forum!!!
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Re: Hinged tulle/plastic bed cover

Post  yolos on 5/20/2013, 1:36 pm

Thanks boffer.
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Re: Hinged tulle/plastic bed cover

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