HOW TO BUILD A QUICK, EASY AND CHEAP TUNNEL FOR FROST PROTECTION

HOW TO BUILD A QUICK, EASY AND CHEAP TUNNEL FOR FROST PROTECTION


So it’s been a really good winter for English peas down here in South, Georgia Our temperatures have been pretty mild We’ve only had about three or four frost’s most of those were pretty minimal right around 32 degrees We did have it get down to 25 one morning And we had to cover these guys and I’m going to talk about that just a minute to show you how I did that but today I want to show you these English peas show you how much they’re producing and talk about this Mr. Big variety that We’ve grown for the first time that I’m really liking if this is your first time on our channel Welcome go ahead and hit that subscribe button down below and hit that Bell notification button So you get notified every time we come out with a new video and if you are a frequent viewer of our channel It’s always good to have you back. So these are our Mr. Big English peas I’ve got a little over a 40 foot row here and man these things were slow to get going and that kind of rollercoaster weather we had in You know fall going into winter hot then cool then and hot then cool just seen kind of have them stunted a little bit But now they’re kicking and they’re just putting on pods like crazy. You can see there, we’ve just got them loaded down with Nice little pods there and those things are starting to fill out We’ve got a few little harvests, but we should be getting a pretty big harvest soon And like I said this variety here is called Mr. Big and it surely lives up to it’s name It makes the biggest pods of English peas I’ve ever seen That one right there is about 6 or 7 inches long and you can see on my hand there That’s a pretty big pod for English peas most of the time most varieties your English pea pods are going to be about this size or a little bit bigger, but these things are absolutely Huge and because they’re so big your gonna get a lot more peas per pod some of the pods I’ve seen up to 10 peas in each pod, which means a big big harvest. Here’s one right here That’s about ready to pop. It needs to be picked And if we shell this bad boy these things shell pretty easy Open it up see you got some nice size Peas in there. Now if you watch our channel much, you know, we’d grow a pretty decent-sized garden about a quarter acre Total and we eat a lot of that food We also sell some of it in our weekly vegetable bag operation that we do but these English peas is one thing That doesn’t go in those weekly vegetable bags. These are for daddy. Now I like to think that all the food I grow out here tastes better than what you can get in the grocery store But the one crop that is really good evidence for that is English peas Homegrown English peas just taste so much better Than those in the can at the grocery store and I like to come out here and just eat these things raw now We’ll cook them and can some of them but I can stand out here all morning And just eat these puppies raw like this, they just got a nice Kind of crisp Sweet flavor to them and you just can’t find that at the grocery store. I have to watch myself I’ll end up standing out here all morning eating English peas instead of shooting this video but anyways Now let’s talk about our tunnel that we used to protect our English peas from that 25 degree Frost morning we had a few weeks ago now I did Originally shoot a video when I was setting all this up and installing it But it was really windy that day and going back looking at the footage. It wasn’t a whole lot there You couldn’t really hear me well so I’ll roll in some of that footage of me actually installing and putting this thing up and Then I’ll tell you about kind of the nuts and bolts of how we did this. Now obviously, I’ve got the clear plastic removed off of this tunnel structure here And I took it off just a couple days after we had that real cold morning It gets pretty hot in there with that plastic on there and some of the days we have get on up to 70 to 75 degrees and so that’s a little warm for them English peas So we leave the plastic off until we see some frost coming and then we can put it back on there. Now when I was designing or figuring out how I was gonna build this thing I had a few things in mind that were very important to me that I want to make sure I accomplished one of those Probably the most important one was I wanted it to be cost-effective. I didn’t want to spend an arm and a leg on protecting these English peas as much as I like them and as valuable as I find them I wanted to keep my cost around a hundred to $150 and I was able to do that now the second thing is I wanted it to be easy and quick to Assemble with as few cuts as possible I don’t want to spend all day out here building this thing and in actuality I put up a big shop light and Put most of it together at night and only took in about 20 or 30 minutes to assemble The thing so quick assembly was very important and the third thing which kind of goes back to the cost and the long-term Value of this thing is I wanted it to be easily Reusable, so it’s easy to take down I can store it easy It’s not going to take up a lot of room and I can put it back up next winter and the next winter and the next and reuse this thing for years to come and Thankfully I was able to accomplish all three of those things cost effective, easy to assemble, and easy to take down Store and reuse. So now let’s look at how we put it together and all the parts or materials that we needed So this thing’s pretty simple. There’s not a whole lot to it Starting off you need just some two foot pieces Rebar and you can get those at the home-improvement store already cut to two feet So we’ve got those at every hoop on both sides of the trellis Then for our pipe we went with a half inch PVC pipe Which seems to be holding up pretty good and then to join everything together. We’ve got these four-way connectors here Now I wasn’t able to find these at the home-improvement store. I had to order these off Amazon, but these things are quite handy and they hold the pipe good You don’t have to glue them or anything, but you can also Pull them out and take them apart when you get ready to disassemble this thing and this last piece here Which is not completely necessary unless you have like I have here t posts that are gonna stick above The hoop structure and you don’t want this t post to rip your plastic So I had some old foam insulation and I just kind of capped off those t post and took a zip tie Put it up there. So they’re not ripping my plastic. So the only real figuring that was required here Was I had to figure out how far apart to put These pieces of rebar here So that I could bend my pipe. I didn’t want to bend it or break it So it took a little figuring to figure out how much I could stress or bend that pipe and how far apart those rebar Stakes need to be now the pipe here we’ve got 10-foot pieces and that’s what’s running long ways here And then here the actual hoop is another 10-foot piece And we just cut that in half and then we’ve got it joined here at this connector here. So we didn’t have any wasted pipe With these ten-foot pieces here cut them in half for the hoops And then for the long rails there, it’s just a straight 10-foot piece And once we had the frame set up, it was real easy to take that plastic, so I used a clear Six mil plastic probably could’ve went with a four mil that six mils pretty thick Anyway, I went with a six mil plastic and just kind of draped it over the top of it and then we use bricks Because I have plenty of bricks laying around To kind of hold it down at the bottom And that wasn’t super super tight like you’d see in a greenhouse but it was tight enough and worked fine, and I was going for about a week and I came back and Everything was still in place. My English peas were still fine. They weren’t Frostbitten or anything and so my tunnel did a pretty good job now I like this design and worked really well for me so far. So next winter if I need it I can use this thing on some broccoli or cauliflower if I’ve got some heads That are getting real close and we’ve got a frost coming that could ruin those heads We could use this on basically any crop doesn’t necessarily have to be a taller trellis crop like these English peas. So for years to come I’ll be getting my money’s worth Out of my little medium tunnel here that $150 I spent to build this thing is gonna be well worth it long term as I’m able to protect some of those crops That are getting really close to maturity that I don’t want to lose We’re in the beginning of February now, and it doesn’t like we have anymore freezing temperatures for the next two weeks But there’s always a possibility and we tend to get a last frost Late February or early March so we might have to put that plastic on there one more time But I always knew if I could just keep these English peas growing throughout the winter come early spring man We’re gonna get some bumper bumper crops off this 40 to 50 foot row. I’ll put a link below to our Mr. Big English pea seeds so you can check those out and grow some of them yourself I’ll also put a link to our Hortonova trellis netting that we used to trellis these guys so you can check that out too. Let me know in the comments below what you think about my design here if there’s any way you Think it could be improved upon let me know for sure and if you’ve ever built something similar to this yourself, let me know how you build it, how you did it and What you thought about it, what you would do differently in the future I’m always looking for Suggestions to improve the way we do things here around the garden. If you enjoyed this video Give me a big like, give me a big thumbs up, and a big share, and we will see you guys next time.

46 Replies to “HOW TO BUILD A QUICK, EASY AND CHEAP TUNNEL FOR FROST PROTECTION”

  1. Your tunnel looks great! I built a low tunnel this year for some shorter plants. I used fence corner brace wire, cut into 5 foot pieces and draped plastic over. Working really well!

  2. Very cost effective design and using the 6 mil plastic was the way to go. While the 4 mil is cheaper and lighter, 6 mil will stand up better in the wind and sun longer. Thanks for the video.

  3. Great design, I've been using PVC for a small high tunnel for a few years now. A couple tips: before you take it down, sponge some paint over the top half of each pipe and you will get an extra 2 years of use before the UV rays break them down and make them powdery and brittle. For off-season storage, use plastic garbage can to stand them up in, then bungie cord around the top to hold them together (I use a 10gal bucket that swimming pool chemicals came in). Gives it a nice footprint to keep from falling over in the shed. OR, better yet, leave it out all year, using shade cloth in the summer over your lettuce. For sure paint it if you do that, though.

    Love the channel! It takes advantage of my compulsive online seed buying habit, as I'm currently waiting for my second seed order from you guys…

    BTW, why all the hating on pig grass? Have the kids pull it up and feed it to the chickens. Makes for some great rich yolks!!!

  4. I made a cheap tunnel .. it looks more like a tent .. but had wood stakes in the center of the bed, put pvc along the top of the wood stakes and draped plastic over it. Works great for about $1 per foot. The pvc isn't bent so it lasts a long time.

  5. Nice job on designing a quick and reasonable hoop cover. I have ordered Mr Big seeds for the first time any tips on growing or insect control? Also my plan was to freeze the peas for eating during the year, have you ever done that and would you suggest leaving them in the pod??

  6. You can make 'clips' for the pipes to hold the fabric or plastic so you won't need bricks. Take a section of pipe and cut 1" to 1 1/2" pieces then cut those pieces in half long ways. Now those halves will snap on the pipe like a clip over the fabric.

  7. Was trying to think about doing this in the near future without the PVC but that's about as easy as it gets and you can use it forever…. it doesn't have to be built like fort Knox…. just cover your stuff

  8. I have tried plastic in the past and have found it works well to keep frost off but does not keep plants from freezing during sub thirty temps but floating row cover instead of plastic works well. Hope you get Tiger fixed, I love seeing him in the videos.

  9. I put PVC "T's" on top of the posts and run a 1 3/8 run of PVC or conduit trough the top the full length of the bed…I leave the T and conduit on all season, because I will also use that same bed to string my tomatoes up onto a line and tie to the top for the coming year when I rotate or grow other crops. I cover the long row with either plastic or insect protective cloth (broccoli and soforth) dependent what I'm growing, I weigh the ends down with sand bags…for easy removal. With the not to long beds I use a 2x2x10 and fasten the plastic with staples, and then just roll it up and faster it to the top with bungee cords to the post (hook at the end of the 2×2). Hope this helps.

  10. That looks great I'll have to try it this year, I'm just waiting for our temps to get more workable. I'm in SO Oregon and we're looking at only 3 1/2 months of growing season I have a nice greenhouse and my dear husband is putting up a second greenhouse this yr. Last yr weather was so difficult to grow anything, too many frosts. My small orchard took a bad hit with hard frosts, I only got pears last yr no apples or cherries. But we keep trying different things to protect the trees. Bless you and thanks for these videos their a big help😍

  11. Sharp design. Should be good as long as the winds don't howl. My fall garden froze out in November when 60mph winds did unspeakable things to my row covers.

  12. With 10 ft hoops, you might have enough width to cover 3 rows of a low crop. Another thing i guess you could do next year on peas is just hammer the T posts down lower so they won't interfer with cover when you need it on. How many varieties of English peas need a trellis vs. more bush type?

  13. Really great video Travis. We’ve been using plastic or Agribon on low tunnels for a good many years. We’re in the high desert of Northern Arizona, so row covers are critical for gardening success every year. Agribon provides protection from frost – but we leave it up in the summer with the sides rolled up to provide a little shade from our strong sunlight. We use 3/4 inch pvc because we are in a high wind area, and even then we have to tie it down with rope and cement blocks. Have a great week!

  14. Wow! I grew English pod peas this year – they were climbers (Alderman) and they were incredibly productive. I have kilos of frozen peas stashed away. They’re a truly great crop and well worth growing. Great video Travis.

  15. I've built smaller ones just like your. I also used 4" to 10" pieces of old water hose and put a split in one sided to put on your PVC pipe to hold your plastic on better. works great. I just ordered seeds from you today the the first time. wish me luck

  16. I did a very similar set-up, but I left the hoops 10ft. And put 2" pvc 'T's on the T-posts and ran 1" emt thru the netting and 'T's, held up the cukes really good.
    Love your videos, especially row by row. God Bless.

  17. Found this helpful. Thanks to all of you including those who made comments. This older female with few tools has been wanting to do this. Think I have a plan now that will work with my limited knowledge and tools lol.

  18. I used Johnny's low bender but I don't use it any more. I am growing Brussels this year. I have (6) sown in my window this far. I am using Root Riot sponges from Amazon and plastic Dixie cups. It is an Eastern window so I am hoping for the best. Deer have not bothered my Brussels so this i one reason I chose these. I will sow Super Sweet 100 Tomatoes but I'll have to grow these behind a fence bc the deer will eat the root, shoot, and fruit. I am in zone 6. Now is the time to start our Brussels indoors to transplant out April 1st.

  19. Definitely agree about the taste of homegrown peas! One of the best parts of the spring gardens. We shell them and freeze in zip locks. Never enough between pods and fresh eating

  20. We did a low tunnel out of the same tubing and 6 mil poly but used a mason twine to wrap tight and support down the center. It worked great in frost but was quickly squashed during the first heavy snow fall. We live in lower NY state.

  21. Lol!!! It seems like every time I order seeds from y’all, there’s a video of something I wish I had got!! πŸ˜‚ guess I’ll be ordering again!! I just planted peas on feb 3rd. Next fall I’m growing them all winter. Thanks Travis, always great info. Luvs, Sherri from Alabama 😊🌻

  22. This is a great idea. I've been trying to figure out how to cover the trellis for my snap peas. Two suggestions: It looks like you are using white pvc.? The gray electrical pvc conduit is UV resistant and rated for outdoor use, the white is not. So whenever that is ready to be replaced, look for the gray electrical kind. I ran into the same problem with the sharp tops of some t posts. I bought cheap tennis balls at Walmart and cut a hole in them and stuck them on. They protected the ends and are reusable. Thanks again!

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