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Discussion forum for the various methods and structures used for getting an early start on your growing season, extending it for several weeks or even year 'round.

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Old March 13, 2018   #1
GoDawgs
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Default Mini Row Protection

This time of year, spring warm spells can turn on a dime and so they have. We've had really mild weather but now more seasonal weather returns. Yesterday they were talking about a heavy frost for this morning and the turnips were just poking up yesterday afternoon. Turnips are hardy but I wasn't going to chance having a heavy frost knock down newly emerged babies so I rigged up row cover over them.



Plastic pipes with old dollar store tennis balls stuck over them held up row fabric folded in half or so, a brick on each end. Ya make it up as ya go along!






Sure enough, the frost looked like snow this morning so I'm glad I did this. They got uncovered this morning but will be recovered this evening for more frost tomorrow. The other side of the bed has beets and rutabagas along the edge but none of those are up yet.

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Old March 13, 2018   #2
Nan_PA_6b
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Clever!

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Old March 13, 2018   #3
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Looks like the support offered is better then those flimsy over priced wire hoops.
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Old March 13, 2018   #4
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We commandeer that ladder galvanized reinforcement wire you use for concrete block walls.the ends dig in nice or fasten to wood ,bend, cover in your method,shade cloth for me in 10B.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Grip-Rit...MG08/203590053
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Old March 14, 2018   #5
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This row cover is super light weight. I've been wanting to try wire hoops for this kind of mini cover and have read from others that "#9 wire" is the stuff to use. Is that correct? I'll have to poke around at the hardware store.

For taller plants I used to use panels of that 6"x6" mesh, 40" tall field fence bent into tunnel shape and covered with plastic for really cold weather. They were tomato cages opened up for early season protection duty.



Now I use 1/2" black irrigation pipe hoops with greenhouse clips for most everything from row cover to plastic and after having deer munch on collards, deer netting. The black pipe fits neatly into 3/4" pvc pipe pounded in along the bed sides.



Last spring I used welded wire covered with 6 mil plastic to get an early jump on peppers. They were out April 6, about three weeks earlier than normal. The protectors were set out a week in advance to warm the soil. I will do that again this year.


Finally, good old field fence and plastic helped get a real early jump on one tomato I started in December '16 just for grins and giggles. I had to tie the cage to the porch posts for stability. This was taken last February 6th, about seven weeks before I usually set out tomatoes:


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Old March 14, 2018   #6
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Wow! You use everything from tennis balls to irrigation pipe! Very pragmatic, using whatever is to hand.

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Old March 14, 2018   #7
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That tennis ball idea is quite innovative, very interesting.

For anyone working with PVC, the gray conduit has UV inhibitors in it, and will last a lot longer in the sun than the white pipe. It is only slightly more expensive.
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Old March 14, 2018   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cole_Robbie View Post
That tennis ball idea is quite innovative, very interesting.

For anyone working with PVC, the gray conduit has UV inhibitors in it, and will last a lot longer in the sun than the white pipe. It is only slightly more expensive.
Ya know, I keep hearing that. But my very limited experience has shown me that gray conduit last about as long.


Maybe Im doing something wrong.
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Old March 14, 2018   #9
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Interesting. The conduit in my greenhouse has been baking in the sun for seven years now. It has faded a lot in color, but I don't think it is brittle. I bought some new stuff to make hoops this week over benches. Even the half-inch is not that easy to bend. I whacked myself in the side of the head pretty good when a bent piece slipped out of my hand.
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Old March 14, 2018   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nan_PA_6b View Post
Wow! You use everything from tennis balls to irrigation pipe! Very pragmatic, using whatever is to hand.
Nan
I just hate to spend money.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cole_Robbie View Post
That tennis ball idea is quite innovative, very interesting. For anyone working with PVC, the gray conduit has UV inhibitors in it, and will last a lot longer in the sun than the white pipe. It is only slightly more expensive.
The tennis balls came from the dollar store (cheap) and have a big X cut in them with an exacto knife. That allows them to be jammed onto the pipe. They come in handy especially when supporting bird netting and keep the netting from tearing on top of poles.

I use the pvc pipe for lots of stuff, just about for everything *except* irrigation. LOL! The bed boards are held in place with 17" lengths of 1/2" pvc acting as stakes. Why 17"? Because I can get exactly 7 stakes per 10' piece of pipe. The pipes holding up the bed sides have been in place for seven years now and are still going strong. The bed ends can be easily pulled out so I can run the tiller through the bed.
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Old March 14, 2018   #11
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You till your beds?? That I did not know.


Thinking back, when you mentioned your tiller (on the other forum) I kinda wondered what your were tilling.
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Old March 14, 2018   #12
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You till your beds?? That I did not know.


Thinking back, when you mentioned your tiller (on the other forum) I kinda wondered what your were tilling.
I do till the beds once before fall and spring planting and once after to till the leaf mulch and any weeds in. The rest of the season I use the broadfork to loosen deeply right before planting. The corn/winter squash areas do not have raised beds so they get tilled, although I do broadfork and amend the planting holes for the squashes.

I've read two schools of thought about post-season tilling of mulch. One advocates leaving it on to keep winter weeds out, keep moisture in, let the leaves decompose naturally and prevent roiling up the soil structure. Another view is that leaving mulch on all winter harbors insects with the possibility that they're worse the next season, or at least they start messing with things earlier.

After trying both ways I've gone with the post-season tilling. For me it has resulted in a big decrease in early flea beetle populations, a later start to squash bug problems and faster decomposition of the leaves.

I'd be interested in hearing from others their views about the till/no till thing.
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Old March 15, 2018   #13
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Love, absolutely LOVE the idea of the tennis balls and PVC to hold up stuff. Terrific idea, and I plan to "steal" it for my garden, especially the community garden!

I've used recycled bubble wrap on cages and such, too. I had, so used it, worked well.
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Old March 15, 2018   #14
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I tend to think that there is a whole lot of BS in the gardening community when it comes to no-till vs. till. I personally think they both have there place.


I really dont buy into the "it destroys the micro-organisms" claim.
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Old March 15, 2018   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imp View Post
Love, absolutely LOVE the idea of the tennis balls and PVC to hold up stuff. Terrific idea, and I plan to "steal" it for my garden, especially the community garden!

I've used recycled bubble wrap on cages and such, too. I had, so used it, worked well.

Here's another application from last February with the balls atop some stakes to hold deer netting above fairly young blueberry plants. I had to tape some pvc pipe to the poles to give the greenhouse clips somewhere to secure the netting. A brick holds the ends down. Hmmm, that reminds me it's time to do it again as the berries are about the size of BB's right now!

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