11) Robust tunnel for early green beans

In this tip:

  • Introduction
  • A)# Building the frame
  • B)# Putting foil on
  • C)# Using the tunnnel
  • D)# At very warm weather
  • E)# At heavy frost
  • F)# Breaking down

Introduction

Early harvest:

Sow first green bean seeds on moist kitchen paper at the end of March (early spring). Let the bean plants grow bigger in flower pots. Put the bean plants in the garden soil under a foil tunnel from early april (early spring) on. Under the tunnel, the bean plants grow faster, don’t freeze and give the first harvest in early June (late spring).

In this tip a description of the foil tunnel.

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Sowing during warm, dry weather

In summer the weather can be very dry and warm. Sow bean seeds on moist kitchen paper. Put the small bean plants in the dry garden soil as follow;

   

Put small bean plants in a shallow hole in the garden soil. Pour water on and put dry hay around the plants. Water the plants every 2 days. The garden soil stays moist and the bean plants grow well. More info in     tip 10   .

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Late harvest;

Sow bush bean seeds (variety Miracle) on moist kitchen paper between early July and half August (mid/late summer). Put the small bean plants in the garden soil until late August (late summer). In his way you can harvest beans until october (early autumn).

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The foil tunnel

Below a description of the tunnel made of plastic foil.

The tunnel has been made of plastic tubes covered with transparent plastic foil. The outer bows are fixed using an wooden beam.

Length of my tunnel is about 4 meters (4 yd, 1 ft). Width is 1,2 meters (4 ft). The highest point of the tunnel is 60 centimeters (2 ft) above the soil.

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A)# Building the frame

A1) Needed

  • Pieces of electric conduit pipe, length about 2.5 meters (2 yd, 2.5 ft).
  • Two wooden laths, length about 1 meter.
  • Two screw eyes; conduit pipe must fit in the eye. If not increase the eyes using pliers>

pens

  • Iron pens, sawn and bent out of reinforcing steel bars. Length about 70 centimeters (2  ft  4 inch). Put a piece of aquarium hose over to form a handle.
  • (or use sturdy tent pegs)

More info about making these pens in tip 13.

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A2) Preparing

Drill a hole in one end of a wooden lath. Turn an eye screw in this hole. Do this at both wooden laths.

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A3) Building

Putting each end bow in the soil;

  • Put one piece of conduit pipe through an eye screw.
  • Push one end of the conduit pipe in the soil.
  • Make a hole in the soil and put the wooden lath in it.
  • Bend the conduit pipe in a bow and push the other end in the soil.
  • Repeat these steps at the other end bow.

Put the other bows between in the soil.

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A4) Tie wraps through the bows

The ends of the bows can go out of the soil during storm or heavy wind. To overcome this problem drill 2 holes in the tube, put a tie wrap trough the holes and make a loop in the tie wrap. Put a metal pen through the loop in the soil.

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B)# Putting foil on

B1) Needed

  • Plastic transparent foil, about 2 x 6 meter.
  • Two plastic flower pots.
  • Paving stones or bricks.
  • Spring clamps (clips).  Type of clamps, see     here   .

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B2) Putting the foil on

  • Cut the bottom out of the 2 flower pots.
  • Lay plastic foil over the bows.
  • At each end of the tunnel:
    • lay one (paving) stone on the garden soil.
    • pull the short end of the foil through the bottomless flower.
    • lay the short end of the foil on the stone.
    • lay 2 (paving) stones or bricks on.
  • Lay heavy stones or bricks on the foil at the “cold side” of the tunnel (opposite of the sunny side).
  • Use spring clamps to fix the foil to the bows at the sunny side.

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B3) Adapting spring clamps

Spring clamps can be too wide over the conduit pipe. They don’t clamp the foil well then.

This can be improved as follows;

 

Use pincers to remove the (orange) clips. After this, the clamp fits well over the conduit pipe. The foil is fixed better.

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C)# Using the tunnel

Open the tunnel by day at sunny warm weather.

Open the tunnel half way at warm weather as shown on this photo. The sunny side is open. The “cold polar side” (north or south) is closed.

(at the closed side, there are heavy stones or bricks on the foil)

Close the tunnel during cold days and during night. At severe wind, put more clamps on the bows.

(at the closed side, there are heavy stones or bricks on the foil)

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D)# At very warm weather

At a very warm day you can open the tunnel completely.

(at the closed side, there are heavy stones or bricks on the foil)

At very warm weather and severe wind, open the tunnel completely. Lay extra bricks or stones on top of the folded plastic foil against foil damage. And put transparent perspex plates in the soil at one or both ends of the tunnel (as wind screens).

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E)# At heavy frost

Before severe frost, put big plastic flower pots over bean plants under the tunnel.

And close the tunnel completely.

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When not freezing by day;

  • Open the tunnel,
  • Remove the flower pots,
  • Close the tunnel.

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F)# Breaking down

Remove the tunnel when no night-frost is expected anymore (mid spring to end of spring). The plastic foil has been used for about 7 weeks and got little UV radiation. So the plastic foil can be used for many years.

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