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what size pvc?

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what size pvc?

Post  ziggy on 3/22/2014, 8:29 am

Looking to build my bed and wanting to use the ol "pvc hoop" trick to lay bird netting or plastic over the garden. What two sizes of pvc works best for this?

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Re: what size pvc?

Post  yolos on 3/22/2014, 8:54 am

1/2 inch ribs over the bed works the best for me because it is flexible enough to easily bend over a 3' or 4' wide bed.  I have not tried it over a 2' bed though.

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Re: what size pvc?

Post  Mikesgardn on 3/22/2014, 12:11 pm

I use 1/2" pvc to span 10 feet. See my avatar. It allows me to walk inside. It is strong enough for netting, but not for plastic sheets. A 4 foot span could hold plastic though.

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Re: what size pvc?

Post  yolos on 3/22/2014, 1:54 pm

Here is a 4 x 8 bed with 1/2 inch pvc as the ribs.  I was using it to provide some sun protection in this picture but I also use it for plastic for warmth when needed or netting/Tulle for insect protection.

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Re: what size pvc?

Post  bnoles on 3/22/2014, 3:37 pm

Yolos, could you elaborate on your method of the 1/2 inch pcv inserted into the 3/4 inch pvc> How is the 3/4 inch secured? I like this idea as it makes the hoops easily removable. Also, what is the pvc pipe sticking out of the ground in the center front?


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Re: what size pvc?

Post  yolos on 3/22/2014, 5:21 pm

@bnoles wrote:Yolos, could you elaborate on your method of the 1/2 inch pcv inserted into the 3/4 inch pvc>  How is the 3/4 inch secured?  I like this idea as it makes the hoops easily removable.  Also, what is the pvc pipe sticking out of the ground in the center front?


Here is a picture of the bed before Mels Mix was added.

As I said above, I use 1/2 in pvc for the ribs.  They are sticking into 1 inch pvc that I have fastened to the sides.  On each side there are 4 holders (on my 8 ft long boxes) for the 1/2 pvc ribs.  The 1 inch holders in the corners are each fastened with 1-1/4 inch EMT one hole straps.  One on each side of the corner pulling in opposite directions to keep the holder straight.  That allows you to put the holders nestled in the corners.  If you use a two hole strap in the corners, you cannot get the holders snugged up in the corners.

The 1 inch holders in the interior are fastened with 2 hold strap fasteners.  If you get EMT 1 inch fasteners they are not big enough to fit around the 1 inch pvc pipe because the outer diameter of a pvc pipe is bigger than the outside diameter of the EMT pipes.  So I have found that at home depot, in the same area as the EMT 2 hole straps are some pvc 2 hole straps.  The EMT straps have blue writing on the package and the pvc 2 hole straps have orange writing on the package.

I let the 1 inch pvc holders stick up above the board so I can put caps (not glued) to keep water out when they are not being used and to keep my grandson from putting pebbles down the holders. Another good reason to extend the holders above the side of the box is because I lay a 1 x 2 on top of the sides to hold the plastic down along the sides and the pvc holders extended above the sides keep the 1x2 from falling into the bed.   I also extend the 1 inch pvc holders down below the box so I can put caps on the bottom (these are glued on).  These keep the 1/2 inch pvc from settling unevenly.  This allows all the ribs to be sticking up exactly the same.  I do drill a hole in each of the bottom caps to allow any water that gets into the holders to drain out the bottom.

That white pvc pipe in the middle of the 4 foot length has nothing to do with the hoops.  It is 1/2 in L shaped that sticks out under the bed so someday I can attach a watering grid that will not have to go up the outside of the box but will come under the box.

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Re: what size pvc?

Post  yolos on 3/22/2014, 5:34 pm

I just found a picture of the corner holders.  I forgot to mention that on the corner holders, I use bolts and nuts because the first one I put in the screws did not hold very well.  I must have predrilled the holes a little too big or maybe just the cheap pine could not withstand the pressure on the holders in the corners.


I go way overboard on everything I do.  I make it more expensive and more time consuming than it really needs to be.  But I actually have more fun planning and building the beds and trellis than I do the actual gardening.  I just wish I had the skills, tools, and good stuff that Boffer has.

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Re: what size pvc?

Post  bnoles on 3/22/2014, 6:28 pm

Thanks for your kind and most helpful reply Yolos, it is very clear and helpful. You have done one of the most well thought out hoop installations I have seen to date and those pictures are worth 1000 words. I am planning to add hoops to 2 of my existing 4X10 beds which means I need will need to clear away the soil from the sides, but will be well worth the effort to duplicate your design. Thank you again for the time you spent making this reply to my request. I owe you one  Laughing 

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Re: what size pvc?

Post  yolos on 3/22/2014, 8:42 pm

Here is another sample of what you can do with PVC holders attached to the inside of a bed.

These are 4 taller holders that I attached to the side of the bed.  I have a 3/4 inch trellis that just slips into these taller holders.  They are about 2-1/2 to 3 feet tall.  I was afraid I would have to attach a guide wire to the side of the bed to keep them upright.  But so far (2 seasons) the holders have held up the trellis with no problems.  If I were in a windy area, I would not have tried this.

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Re: what size pvc?

Post  jimmy cee on 3/23/2014, 8:50 am

I hammered a piece of SS 1/2" O.D. heavy tubing down 18 inches into the ground, doing this will keep the 1 inch from kicking out at the bottom.
Then hammered a 2 foot piece of 1 inch down over the tubing to where the top is where I want it.
A 10 foot piece of 1/2 inch is arched across into each side.
I bolted the clamps in with washers, my thoughts are the wood will soften in time, any screws will loosen.
I haven't gone further yet, I think this will do me..

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Re: what size pvc?

Post  AtlantaMarie on 3/23/2014, 9:33 am

How does the PVC stand up to the weather?  We've used PVC in the past for bringing water up to our deck, but it didn't hold up well.

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Re: what size pvc?

Post  jimmy cee on 3/23/2014, 9:40 am

I've used 2 inch pvc for compost posts for years, still looks good although I'm not using them now, however they are still stored outside.
As far as water supply, I use a rubber hose to bring water to my deck, when freeze conditions arrive I take it all down for winter.
I'm sure it will hold up in garden stands ok unless there's to much weight.

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Re: what size pvc?

Post  AtlantaMarie on 3/23/2014, 9:52 am

Thanks Jimmy Cee.  I guess I see a conversation starting tonight...  Wink

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Re: what size pvc?

Post  sanderson on 3/23/2014, 11:22 pm

Yolos and Jimmy, Both of your replies are easy to understand and are accompanied by good photos. Thanks for sharing.

Mike, Do you have close up photos to see how you designed your covers?

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Re: what size pvc?

Post  sanderson on 3/24/2014, 4:07 pm

I have a 10' piece of PVC that DH said I could use in the garden if I wanted.   thinking  Now I know what I will do with it, plus a few screws and some plumbers tape.  I think setting my PVC cold/rain/hail frames inside the boxes in sturdy holders will look nicer than what I rigged up.  My rigging worked but looked a little tacky.   Embarassed

PS I can also set stakes in them for the tomato plants! Or rig a small trellis. I'm so glad I read this topic.


Last edited by sanderson on 3/24/2014, 4:25 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : typo and PS)

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Re: what size pvc?

Post  boffer on 3/24/2014, 4:21 pm

@yolos wrote:...I go way overboard on everything I do.  I make it more expensive and more time consuming than it really needs to be.  But I actually have more fun planning and building the beds and trellis than I do the actual gardening.

   I can relate to that!


@yolos wrote:...I just wish I had the skills, tools, and good stuff that Boffer has.
Stop by the next time you're in the PNW.  I'll have you doing garden quality welding in 30 minutes!  

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