Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Latest project

Heilsa, Fellow Transitioners,

I was reading a great article in _Colorado_Gardener_ for thier harvest edition on school gardens which in and of itself is a great transition idea. They had some nice pictures of raised beds with framing, which I assume is used for either plant protection and/or climbing, which were made of pvc (yes, I know, not transition material, but is durable and fine for outside use). These inspired me to build a set as an experiment for our raised bed, which still has tomatoes ripening. I documented the procedure and decided to post it here and see if folks would be interested in doing a transition workshop on this.

Originally we were going to do an A frame style cold frame with a small flat ridge line, but due to the size of our largest tomato plant, we needed to make some modifications to the design and decided to build it more like a true house with stick framing and a gable roof. The bed is made of 2 4x4x8 posts stacked on top of each other for the long sides and 2 4x4x4 posts stacked for the short ends.

Here is a detailed listing of the parts used to build the frame:

12 10' 1/2-inch pvc pipes

8 1/2-inch 90-degree sleeve elbows

8 1/2-inch 45-degree sleeve elbows

4 1/2-inch sleeve crosses

2 1/2-inch sleeve tees

32 3/4x3/4x1/2-inch T sleeve reducers, (3/4 inch allows for ease of movement)

1 PVC cutter

1 bag of 1/2-inch pipe clamps for attaching the frame to the bed

Below is a drawing and cutting diagram of the pieces to be cut from the 1/2-inch pipe.

The steps for building the frame are as follows:

1. Using the diagram above, cut the pieces as follows;

A: 4 8-foot (red)

B: 4 4-foot (green)

C: 8 32-inch (yellow)

D: 10 of 1 3/4-inch (purple)

E: 3 29-inch (orange)

F: 12 2-foot (blue)

G: 2 5-foot (pink)

2. Gather 2 A pieces, 2 B pieces, 4 right angle elbows, and 20 reducer Ts.

3. Slide 2 Ts onto each B piece; slide 8 Ts onto each A piece (it helps if you attach an elbow to the end of each A and B pipe).

4. Attach A to B pieces, using elbows, forming a 4' x 8' rectangle.

5. Take 8 C pieces, 8 Ds, and 8 45-deg elbows; attach an elbow to the end of each C piece. Insert D piece into each elbow.

6. Connect one pair of C/D pieces with a 1/2-inch tee; repeat with one more pair of C/D pieces.

7. Connect one pair of C/D pieces with a 1/2-inch cross; repeat with one more pair of C/D pieces.

8. Insert one set of ribs created in step 6 into the tees at one end of the rectangular frame from step 4; repeat with the other set.

9. Insert ribs from step 7 into the tees in the middle of the frame.

10. Insert one E piece between ribs along top, to form the spine.

You should have some thing that looks similar to this;

The following steps are for making the bottom part which the top sits on (duh).

11. Gather remaining 2 A pieces, 2 B pieces, 4 right angle elbows, and the reamining 12 reducer Ts.

12. Slide 2 1/2-inch tees onto each B piece, attach elbows to each side.

13. Slide 4 Ts onto each A piece; attach to the 2 elbows on the B pieces, forming a rectangle.

14. Insert an F piece into each T in the rectangle. It should look like this;

15. Now the hard part, which takes two people. Have one person hold the top over the bottom; the other person goes around and inserts the F pieces into the Ts on the top piece.

16. Take a rubber mallet and tap all the connections until they are sold.

We added two more crosses in the middle of the spine (connected with two additional D pieces) and attached two 5-foot pipes (G) to the cross connections facing down, driving the "posts" into the bed about 6 inches. This really helped the stability and also allows for deep watering.

Here is a picture of the finished frame minus the two additional posts.

If anyone has questions, comments, etc. feel free to contact me through TC or at coultraguy at gmail dot com.

In Frith,



C.R. Urban Homesteader's said...

I love it! It looks fairly simple to put together, I will have to try it out!

Zev said...

Looks like a good idea! How will it hold up in the wind? Just came across your blog and wanted to say hello. I'm also in Colorado, down by CO Springs.

Julie said...

Looks Good. Will you have some ventilation in it? I learned the hard way that's important. I plan on making one this spring too. I posted two videos on it yesterday and will add a link to this posting too.