Raised Bed Accessories Questions

prairiemoon2 z6 MAApril 5, 2014

We are also wanting to design a way to add row covers and vertical support to raised beds. I've seen a few designs where you attach pvc piping to the inside of the boxes, where you can then insert another pvc pipe that will bend to form a curve that the row cover would then be clipped to.

It looks very convenient but I do garden organically and would not like to use pvc piping in our beds. As an alternative, I suppose you can use metal pipe and copper, in a rectangular shape, but I wonder will metal in contact with the soil, leach out too much iron, or the copper leach too much copper into the soil?

I'm also wanting to build A Frame vertical support for beans and peas. Something with a wood frame that metal fencing or a cattle panel, etc. is stapled to and the whole thing hinged to lay flat for storage. I'm wondering how I can anchor that in the bed? I thought of using a wooden stake that I could screw the A Frame to, so the actual AFrame is not in contact with the soil and I would just have to keep replacing the stakes as they rot.

I'm not experienced with building any of these items, so I'm just trying to think it through for the first time.

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defrost49

We use some concrete heavy reinforcing mesh anchored with steel posts. We don't take the posts down so they eventually rust thru. I leave the whole thing up all winter. The birds like to sit on the fence. Some springs I have my husband move it.

My husband made a portable low tunnel for me. It has a wooden frame which is in contact with the soil. The pvc pipes are attached to that (thinking metal straps). It takes 2 people to move it because it's bulky. Probably about 4 X 8. Great to put over bush beans in Sept when I usually get a light frost that would kill a late planting (blooming mid sept).

I thought the permanent pvc hoops fit one metal rods if you wanted to leave them in a bed. Have you looked in the Eliot Coleman books for suggestions? He uses season extending techniques in Maine. There doesn't seem to be any concerns about PVC pipes at the demonstration gardens at Maine Organic Farmers Common Ground Fair. Good question.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 5:10PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

but I do garden organically and would not like to use pvc piping in our beds

There is no organic recommendation against using PVC piping in organic gardening, at least not from any reputable source. Even many certified organic growers use it. Do you use garden hose? Same components. And row cover is spun polyester too. Not to mention that PVC is much easier to work with and longer lasting.

I suppose you can use metal pipe and copper, in a rectangular shape, but I wonder will metal in contact with the soil, leach out too much iron, or the copper leach too much copper into the soil?

Metal doesn't "leach" and both copper and iron are organic and normal components of all soil.

And any A-frame construction can be just stood up in the bed and the 4 corners staked down with short pieces of re-rod driven into the soil. Simple and easy to do.

Gardening organically doesn't complicate the process of gardening. It simplifies it when you understand what it really means and doesn't mean.

Dave

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 5:28PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Defrost, that sounds like a nice low tunnel your husband built for you. I've been looking at google images all week and saw the one posted below. I'm thinking of making mine with glass, which I imagine would be even heavier. I'd like to just sit them on top of the raised beds and take them off when I don't need them. Guess I have to figure out where to store them when not in use too. At least for the winter.

I love Eliot Coleman books. I did see a YouTube Video he made explaining using the cold frame and I wanted one like his, which appears to have glass in it, but he didn't provide the directions for it and I can't figure out how he is attaching the lights. Thanks for the reminder, I should take a look at his books again.

Dave, I always have a lot of questions, no matter what the topic. [g] I'm not a gardening expert, organic or otherwise, but I have been keeping organic gardening pretty simple for the past 30 years. I am definitely unfamiliar with garden construction.

I didn't know whether these materials would leach something into the soil. I also am trying to reduce the amount of plastics that I build into what I am doing. Of course, you're right, lots of hoses are made of similar material, mine is rubber.

I did realize that iron and copper are both elements of the soil and our foods. I just didn't know if introducing permanent poles into the soil if they would leach into the soil in an excessive amount of either.

And thanks for the idea about the AFrame anchor. Rebar is what you are talking about, I think.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 6:03PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I also am trying to reduce the amount of plastics that I build into what I am doing.

That's fine - a personal choice. But when you tie it to "organic gardening" as you did above it can read to others as though it shouldn't be used or isn't allowed.

Dave

PS: yeah rebar aka rerod is what I am talking about

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 7:09PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

That's fine Dave, happy for you to clarify it. We all think we are being crystal clear in our communication but it still needs tweaking sometimes.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 8:36PM
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NHBabs z4b-5a NH(4b-5aNH)

We put our fasteners on the outside of the bed. IIRC we used something like this or the picture in the response below, a half round metal pipe holder in sets of two on each side, one above the other about 6 inches apart.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 11:06AM
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NHBabs z4b-5a NH(4b-5aNH)

Here's the other clamp. I think that sometimes with wooden frames for reinforcing wire mesh that we grew vines up, DH just used long sheetrock screws to fasten directly to the sides.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 11:09AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Thanks for those photos Babs, I've seen that first one used for vertical structures a lot, but not the second one. Can't wait to get everything back to normal and the vegetable garden not in limbo. Started construction today, next we have to lift some grass and remove some bricks that are in the way. Hope the weather holds.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 6:34PM
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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

One thing that can be used for holding up row covers is wire (I think what I have is #9), you can get a bunch from a hardware store and cut it to the lengths/heights that suit what you are doing. If in a windy locale, you could use clothespins or some other type of clip to hold it to the wire and way down the cloth all around. Or you can order the hoops for a lot more money, like below...

Here is a link that might be useful: Overpriced Hoop Support Wires

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 9:44PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

I have some 3' by 6' raised beds. Recently I built two portable hoops (made wit 8ft long , 1/2 pvc, covered with clear plastic) to go on them. . I am using them right now, while hardening off my seedling.Being portabLe, I can remove them any time, or move from one bed to other. Then of course I am not an "Organic Purist". Though I care for health , well being and safety of myself and my family. To me automotive exhaust gases (just as an example) pose much much greater risk to my health than any INorganig stuff in gardening. But I DO live in a city, drive and breathe all those gases.

TO EACH THEIR OWN.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 3:58AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Thanks tishtoshmn, I'd rather make our own then buy a kit, too.

Seysonn, I haven't figured out what I'm doing for supports or cold frame covers. It's not that I know something that pvc in the bed is going to be detrimental, I don't. I just have lived long enough to have thought a lot of things were safe, until 20 years later, when they figure out it's not. So instead of figuring out what is safe and what isn't,, I just try to stick with natural materials as much as possible.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 9:56AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

PM,
You can make them from wood too. PVC is just so simple and economical.

For cold frame top, I have used, plexi glass, clear plastic and some corrugated clear plastic ( called tuff(something)) You can also use common window glass. Then it can break easily.. Plexi glass is the best option but it costs more.

BTW: I make the top of my cold frame flat (not bowed). I think both cold frame and the hoop covers are dandy. Once you have them you cannot live without them. They are the next best thing to greenhouse.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 12:10AM
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