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Finally doing the Covered Wagon thing

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Finally doing the Covered Wagon thing

Post  PeggyC on Sun Apr 24, 2011 12:32 am

This will be my 4th year of SFG, and I just today finally bought the PVC to do the cover support like in the SFG book. It's only $1.47/10' of PVC! Why didn't I do this sooner? For the plastic sheeting I bought 6mil sheeting in the paint department, like for drop cloth. I hope that will be tough enough for hail season.

I can't decide between the Covered Wagon look and the criss-cross look. Is one stronger than the other do you think? We have STRONG sustained wind regularly with gusts in the low hurricane range often. We don't have a few scattered hail storms, we have a month or two of almost daily hail storms. (Can you tell I'm not from here? the locals think this is "normal."Evil or Very Mad )

Ooh, and on the Home Page of squarefoot.org there was a "send Mel a Get well card" link. I don't come on here often enough. What's up with Mel I love you?

Thanks everyone! Like a Star @ heaven


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Re: Finally doing the Covered Wagon thing

Post  shannon1 on Sun Apr 24, 2011 3:57 am

I just use arches like with the "covered wagon" type and no PVC going across the top. It works fine here and we get some mighty winds. You could always add the top bar if nessiary.


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Re: Finally doing the Covered Wagon thing

Post  Furbalsmom on Sun Apr 24, 2011 1:04 pm


The 6 mil should handle most hail, but I remember Omaha weather, with HUGE hailstones and horrendous winds. If you get biggie hailstones?????

I have both the covered wagon style and the dome hoop support style.

Covered wagon give you a little more room height wise over the whole length of the bed. The crossbar to strengthen the covered wagon, especially in your area, seems to me to be a good addition. Personally, I use the crossbar on the windy Coast of Oregon.

The dome support is pretty darn stable as long as you secure the two hoops together at the top. I used zip-ties.

My suggestion is that either method, don't just set the PVC hoops inside your garden and use the tension created by your frame to secure the hoops. With your wind, you need to either use rebar in the ground with the pvc pipes set over the rebar, or secure the pvc to your frame using conduit straps, or even both.

Good luck, which ever way you go.

BTW, Mel had a bad fall and has had surgery on his hip. He is now in a rehab center. Click on the scroller to get more info and a link for sending Get Well wishes


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Re: Finally doing the Covered Wagon thing

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on Sun Apr 24, 2011 1:19 pm

I can't argue with the above statements about hoop strength. You have some experience talking at you there.

I haven't had hail on my 6mil bigger than pea-sized yet. However, I can tell you that anything over 2" diameter hail is going through that plastic. There's just no way any plastic sheeting is strong enough for egg-sized, even ping pong ball sized, hail stones. And, obviously, anything that punches through car windows will make quick work of any plastic.

I can't imagine a world where that is considered "normal." But, if I could, my imagination would definitely picture western OK, KS, NE, etc. I've heard hail can kill a chicken out there.


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Re: Finally doing the Covered Wagon thing

Post  Smartchick on Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:57 pm

Hey! Another Nebraskan! Thanks, PeggyC. I was wondering this same thing.

I haven't ventured into the hoop house world yet as I figured they would blow away in our lovely Nebraska wind (yep, it's windy here pretty much every day - I remember laughing when I read the SFG book the first time and it said to mix MM on a calm day and thinking, "well this method won't work - we don't have calm days here.")

Furbalsmom, thanks for the advice on the rebar. I'm thinking I may attempt this to extend further into Fall on at least one of my beds.

BBG, I don't know about killing chickens, but it can take out an airplane. I used to travel 3+ weeks a month and was supposed to go to FL leaving on Mother's day a few years ago. We got one of our lovely NE hailstorms the night before and it took out every single plane that had been parked overnight at the Omaha airport. Needless to say, I got to go home and spend the day with my Mom which was the silver lining. Smile


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Re: Finally doing the Covered Wagon thing

Post  extremesoccermom on Mon Apr 25, 2011 10:06 pm

My beds are 5X10 I have 4 PVC hoops and a piece of conduit accross the top. It held up well all winter. Mid March, however, we had incredible winds one day. I have the plastic held on with giant clips. They all held but the end PVC pipe pulled out of the rebar. When I got home it was blowing like a kite. I tried to put it back but the wind was blowing to hard. I had to wait until the next day to put it back together.
I purchased the large roll of plastic and cut it to size for each of the beds. I was actually able to double it over. (I did rip it but it was my fault, I got it caught on something and just pulled instead of taking my time). It held up great and the lettuce I planted at the end of the season grew (slowly but it grew) all winter. We had 2 heads for easter.


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