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Making Hoops

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Making Hoops

Post  rabbithutch on 5/15/2014, 1:20 pm

The time is fast approaching when I will need to cover my TTs to protect tomatoes from birds and perhaps from the Texas sun's heat.  I thought that hoops made from plastic electrical conduit might suit, but I don't know how radically they can be bent or how they hold up.  My thought was to attach each end of a piece cut to appropriate length, bending it across the top, then to use zip ties to attach a straight piece down the length to stiffen them up a bit so that dragging netting or row cover would not pull them down.

Is this a bad idea?  If so, why?  Is the gray electrical conduit the best material?  If not, why not and what would be better?

My search fu is not working too well today; so if I missed a post on this topic please rub my nose in the composting cow or horse manure - your choice - and point me in the right direction.

TIA
 
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Re: Making Hoops

Post  boffer on 5/15/2014, 1:51 pm

The grey electrical conduit is UV resistant; the white plumbing PVC is not.

The narrowest bed I've used them on as hoops is 30".  That makes for tall skinny, funny looking hoops, but it works.  I cut all my sticks to 9 feet.  That way I can use 10 foot wide plastic without the need to make a cut in that direction.  My beds are a variety of widths, under 4 feet, so that saves some time and effort.

I originally used white zip ties on all my ridge connections.  I later found out that they are not UV stabilized (the black ones are), and I'm now paying the price.  I'm only getting 2-4 years life out of them.  This spring, I started retro-fitting all my hoops with nuts and bolts.  At the moment, I have 14 boxes with hoops so it's been a tedious chore, to put it politely!   Wink
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Re: Making Hoops

Post  Marc Iverson on 5/15/2014, 3:55 pm

If you put rebar spikes into the ground and then push down the PVC over them, they will be very sturdy. I get rebar two feet long, sink a foot into the ground, and connect with schedule 40 PVC (which will take the sun better than the regular PVC). The longer your PVC, the easier it will be to bend and the higher your hoop will be. For a plant as big and wide as a determinate tomato, you'd probably want PVC as long as you can get it, or even connected by joiner sleeves at the top of the hoop. jimmycee recently posted pictures of a very nicely done tallish hoop house done with PVC and secured by bolts that looks very sturdy and useful for larger beds and plants.
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Re: Making Hoops

Post  jimmy cee on 5/15/2014, 5:01 pm

I just finished mine last week, maybe this will give you some ideas.
First hammered 1/2" tube down about 2 feet, I did this so the 1 inch pvc wouldn't kick out at the bottom.
2 feet of 1 inch pvc (3/4" won't work) hammered down to where I felt comfy.
Then I used a 10 foot section of 1/2"pvc, arched it into the 1 inch on either side. Did that with 4 pieces and adjusted to try to make it even.
It can be raised or lowered inside the 1 inch pvc.
After waiting a week or so I finally secured with 10/24 screws and nut, the on to the covers which is still a project in development.
As long as the storms don't destroy this I am going to leave it in a permanent state, I'm using my cold frame also as a tool for pest control..
I used  a needle and cord to tie on foam insulation, it helped secure the netting under neath.


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Re: Making Hoops

Post  rabbithutch on 5/15/2014, 5:56 pm

Thank you, all, for that great information.

Here is what I was thinking.  Tell me if I've lost it.

The tops of my TTs are 40" above the ground.  I was thinking that I might use the 10' gray conduit in the 1/2" diameter and bend it to make a hoop.  I have one bed 24" wide and the other are 48".  If I calculated correctly, the arc length on the 24" wide bed will be ~37.7" and the radius of the arc will be ~12".  Deducting the arc length from the length of the conduit leaves 82.3" which if halved leaves ~40 inches for the legs (120-37.7=82.3/2=~41.15) which I would limit to 39" so as not to have the conduit on the ground.  By using a pair of conduit mounting clamps on each side of each hoop, I should get fairly rigid hoops which I can adjust up and down from a minimum height of ~20" to a maximum height of ~70".  There is similar math for the 48" wide beds but I would need to use 2 pieces of conduit to get the same height adjustment.  Again, 2 clamps per hoop and a bracing piece of conduit at the top of the hoops should see me home and safe.

The fact that I have TTs makes it possible to have the height adjustable and adding additional lengths of conduit with connectors should give me almost infinite capacity if I add bracing lengths at the sides as well as the top.

Does that make ANY sense?

 
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Re: Making Hoops

Post  boffer on 5/15/2014, 6:46 pm

What would be  the advantages of adjustable height hoops?


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Re: Making Hoops

Post  jimmy cee on 5/15/2014, 9:41 pm

I'm wondering now if the gray electrical conduit is pliable enough to make any bend ?
If you notice there are lots of various elbow fittings on the shelves, and in longer radius's.
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Re: Making Hoops

Post  has55 on 5/15/2014, 10:50 pm

Hi rabbithutch, I live in north texas and use shade cloth over my metal electrical conduit hoops for  heat protection. they are held together by snap clamps. I have them up now because we have hit some 90's degrees days. for tomatoes protection from the birds I used various round red colored christmas tree ornaments placed on the plant in various locations. The birds fly down and tap on it to eat and find it's not edible, so they leave and not come back to eat the real ones. I got my ornaments from hobby lobby. 
















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Re: Making Hoops

Post  AtlantaMarie on 5/16/2014, 8:54 am

Very clever, Has55!!!  And nice pix, too!
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Re: Making Hoops

Post  rabbithutch on 5/16/2014, 1:38 pm

@boffer wrote:What would be  the advantages of adjustable height hoops?



Because I never know how tall the plants in a bed will be, and because I might want to cover them at different times in their maturation process, it seemed to me that it might be desirable to be able to shift the hoops upward if I failed to allow enough room.

Those pics are GREAT  Has55!!!

jimmy cee:  I haven't tried making the hoops yet but I did heft a 10' piece of gray conduit at Lowe's yesterday.  It seems to be 'bendy' enough.  If not, I'll use a heat gun to give it some motivation.
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Re: Making Hoops

Post  boffer on 5/17/2014, 4:33 pm

For a 2 foot wide box with adjustable hoops, you might have better luck with this style hoop, as there won't be any bending resistance to fight with.

These boxes are 2 feet wide.
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Re: Making Hoops

Post  jimmy cee on 5/17/2014, 8:33 pm

Boffer
That looks nice, think I'll do that on my next bed, exact measurements will match everything up
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Re: Making Hoops

Post  Marc Iverson on 5/18/2014, 12:43 am

That does look nice.

Boffer, how is the crossbar attached? Nut and bolt?
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Re: Making Hoops

Post  sanderson on 5/18/2014, 1:00 am

Zip ties?

I like the gable style.
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Re: Making Hoops

Post  AtlantaMarie on 5/18/2014, 9:17 am

@sanderson wrote:
I like the gable style.

+1! 

Setting it up that way would make it easier to adjust the height AND it looks great!
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Re: Making Hoops

Post  GWN on 5/18/2014, 9:24 am

Jimmiecee
I really like the idea of using the hoops for pests and cold... Nice looking hoops
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Re: Making Hoops

Post  GWN on 5/18/2014, 9:25 am

HAS55 
I love the size of your beds. Looks like a campground.
Must be much easier to work with the cloth, at that size
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Re: Making Hoops

Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 5/18/2014, 10:57 am

Boffer, since you are a Northwest guy, can I ask: where do you purchase the plastic used over the hoops?  Our local Ace just doesn't cut it.  Nonna

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Re: Making Hoops

Post  boffer on 5/18/2014, 11:27 am

I use general purpose 6 mil plastic on my hoops.
Home Depot has free shipping on these products at the moment

http://www.homedepot.com/s/Clear%25206%2520mil%2520Polyethylene%2520Sheeting?NCNI-5


I use 6 mil greenhouse film from FarmTek on my greenhouse; it's much clearer.

https://www.farmtek.com/farm/supplies/prod1;ft_greenhouse_equipment-ft_greenhouse_covering-ft_greenhouse_plastic_covering;pg108654.html
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Re: Making Hoops

Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 5/18/2014, 11:50 am

Thanks, Boffer, will check out both sources.  Nonna

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Re: Making Hoops

Post  donnainzone5 on 5/18/2014, 12:44 pm

Boffer,

Spectacular!
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Re: Making Hoops

Post  sanderson on 5/18/2014, 2:21 pm

Boffer,  Just what I needed, another project!   Shocked 

I really like gable structures.  Duh.  They eliminate the "air lift" effect of domes (Pup tents tumbling in the wind!) This fall I will be converting these cold frames for the boxes:



Into this style like my winter Green house:


Setting the ends into these new multi-purpose holders (got the idea from this Forum):


Nothing is glued together so it will be easy to cut and re-purpose. Joints were fortified with tension "wires."


Each frame is stored separately for summer:  This is the greenhouse:


For 3-way, 4-way and 45 degree fittings, these sites were great for ordering:
http://www.pvcplans.com/
http://www.snapclamp.com/


Last edited by sanderson on 5/18/2014, 2:25 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Add storage photo)
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Re: Making Hoops

Post  jimmy cee on 5/18/2014, 2:47 pm

sanderson
If my wife would give up her yard I could have about 25 of these and never need to cut grass again
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Re: Making Hoops

Post  AtlantaMarie on 5/18/2014, 5:24 pm

+1 Jimmy! 

I wish Mike would consider just turning the entire yard into SFGs.  Heck, we'd be able to feed the entire neighborhood...!
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Re: Making Hoops

Post  Marc Iverson on 5/18/2014, 7:32 pm

Now that I've taken up gardening, it's hard not to look at grass as the devil! But I know, I know ... I should keep an open mind ...

Turns out some people actually like their lawns. Can you imagine????
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Re: Making Hoops

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