PVC "hoops" over a raised bed garden idea

KevinLoving
KevinLoving Posts: 19 ✭✭✭


This is my pvc pipe solution to making hoops over our raised bed gardens. I made a "jig" out of plywood and filled 20 foot joints of 1.5 inch pvc pipe with heated sand then bent it around the jig. WALA, wagon hoops on the raised bed gardens! Now the "A #1 PROFESIONAL Master Gardner (otherwise known as my WIFE) can spread cloth over the garden on nights when it is going to freeze!

Comments

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,640 admin

    @KevinLoving My neighbour started doing this a few years ago. Her solution was hula hoops from the $1 store. They are a brightly coloured and shiny addition to her garden. Just make a cut and use the whole hoop or for lower plants, two cuts to make a half hoop.

    Yours look like they could hold more weight than the hula hoops, allowing for the use of heavier plastic tarps.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,980 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I think this could work very well. I haven't tried it because it seemed that it would be difficult to bend the PVC that far. Heated sand sounds more difficult than I would want to tackle myself, but it seems to have worked well for you.

    Putting up hoop covers is very easy. The challenge is getting the hoops in place, and getting them to stay there.

  • Lisa K
    Lisa K Posts: 1,917 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Very cool @KevinLoving, I used elbow and "T" joints with my PVC.

  • dipat2005
    dipat2005 Posts: 1,279 ✭✭✭✭

    @KevinLoving Thank you for your wonderful idea. I have always thought this would be the way to go. My space of gardening is 11 inches so that may not work for me. I wonder what would work. I will keep an eye out to see.

  • kbmbillups1
    kbmbillups1 Posts: 1,377 ✭✭✭✭✭

    My largest garden bed has these pvc hoops. I love them and keep saying I'm going to do the same for my 2 smaller beds but I'm still being "creative" with those.

    I had graduation signs left for my daughters and had the idea to repurpose them and use them on the ends of my smaller garden beds since they're pretty tall. I put a little duct tape over the corners and stretch my row cover over them. Works in a pinch!

  • KevinLoving
    KevinLoving Posts: 19 ✭✭✭

    @torey The hula hoop would not be heavy enough to hold what my Wife puts over those hoops. This is schedule 40 PVC (thick wall) pipe. The 1.5 inch the hoops are made of slides in the 2 inch pipes that I have installed on the raised beds.

    So far, it has worked great. It was some trouble to make but I kept the jig and can make more anytime they are needed. It comes in real handy when the frosty weather is just hit and miss.

    The hula hoop is not something I ever thought of. It would not work for us, but if you are using some light netting (my Wife putts this light white netting over some of the plants in the spring to keep those white butterfly's away), it would work.

  • KevinLoving
    KevinLoving Posts: 19 ✭✭✭

    @VermontCathy

    It is not to difficult to heat the sand. I did it in a large wok that has a burner that I use for camping. You can use any heavy skillet or even in a pan in the oven. You can shape the pipe any way you want if you cap one end and pour the sand in the other end. You have to leave the sand in a few minutes before the pipe becomes pliable (Talking about the thick walled pipe). I have not tried it on the thin walled pipe; but I bet it would work.

    BTW: WEAR GLOVES! I can tell you that the pipe gets HOT!

  • KevinLoving
    KevinLoving Posts: 19 ✭✭✭

    @Lisa K I don't understand; did you bend the pipe into the joints? If so, how did you get it to bend without heating? It sounds interesting.

  • KevinLoving
    KevinLoving Posts: 19 ✭✭✭

    @dipat2005 By adjusting the pipe size down to 3/4 inch, I bet it would work for your purposes. Smaller pipe would be easy to handle also. Give it a try, PVC is still relatively cheep.

    You might try PEX pipe. It would not have to be heated to bend.

  • KevinLoving
    KevinLoving Posts: 19 ✭✭✭

    @kbmbillups1 What I LOVE about PVC is that it is completely rot proof! This PVC is exposed to the sun so it might shorten it's life to something like 30 years - LOL

    Have a look at PEX pipe. It is heavy plastic that will bend without heating. I doubt it would be a sturdy as PVC but it would be easy to make a hoop out of. I used the 3/4 PEX to run all my hose bibs (I have a hose bib in every raised bed garden so My wife can adjust the amount of water each bed gets. PEX is a GREAT product and easy to put together. PEX has almost completely replaced copper pipe in plumbing because the pipe WILL NOT BUST when frozen (the fittings might, but the pipe won't).

    I bet you come up with something that will work!

  • Lisa K
    Lisa K Posts: 1,917 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @KevinLoving because I have to enclose the beds completely I made the PVC frame square but you could probably use "T"s to make a base then use one of the short end to put PVC hoops. The "T" would look more like I- with the vertical pipes using the top of the "I" then a horizontal support the "post" -- if that makes any sense.

  • monica197
    monica197 Posts: 332 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November 2021

    I love your hoops - and the plants look so healthy!! Great job!

    How long did you need to heat the sand before putting into the pipe?

    How long did you leave the sand in the pipe before it could bend?

    @KevinLoving

  • JennyT Upstate South Carolina
    JennyT Upstate South Carolina Posts: 1,273 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @KevinLoving Nice work.😊

    I've done something similar with the help of my husband.

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 2,116 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Nice looking hoops May have to try this for some of mine. Here is an idea for one that can be slid out of the way for those periods when the weather cannot make up it's mind.


  • jowitt.europe
    jowitt.europe Posts: 1,454 admin

    @KevinLoving what a good idea. I might borrow it for my high beds in spring. For small plants I just put a plastic cover over a high bed, but when the plants are big, yours is an excellent idea

  • KevinLoving
    KevinLoving Posts: 19 ✭✭✭

    @monica197 I have a cooker that is kind of a wok that is set on a stand over a propane burner. I is like a huge skillet. I heated the sand in it for some time. I used a piece of thin board to stir it while it was getting hot. When I judged it hot enough I put a pvc cap (without glue) on one end and poured the sand in the open end. I used the thick walled schedule 40 pipe. It doesn't take long before the pipe becomes flexible; I would say 3 minutes. You have to wear gloves because the outside of the pipe gets hot. If you bend it around the jig to soon it will be hard to bend; if you wait to long it will be like a "limp noodle" and will get flat spots from the jig (I did both and learned).

    After it is in the jig, I knocked the cap off the end and let the sand pour in a bucket. In a few minutes it can be removed from the jig.

    It was a lot of trouble! Worth it because I won't have to do it again for many years and my wife LOVES them.

  • monica197
    monica197 Posts: 332 ✭✭✭✭✭

    they sound very durable!

  • dipat2005
    dipat2005 Posts: 1,279 ✭✭✭✭

    @KevinLoving Thank you for suggesting PEX pipe. I looked it up and it certainly might do the trick. To be honest in that small space I never considered doing something like that. I just wanted to make a raised bed.