In this tip:
- A)# Greenhouse with (bamboo) sticks
- B)# Greenhouse with iron wire bows (hoops) and thick iron pens.
For growing early lettuce, summer carrots, leek etcetera you can use a greenhouse made of transparent corrugated plate. Also useful above late endive or lettuce in the autumn.
- Easier to make than a greenhouse made of wood or bricks with plastic foil or glass plate on it.
- You can relocate the greenhouse in your garden to a new place or over small plants each time you want.
- When not used, you can dismantle it easily. The corrugated plate can be used as a roof.
- The lifetime of the greenhouse is long, more than 5 years.
- The greenhouse is not expensive; about €20.00 for plate, iron wire, iron pens and plastic hose.
In this tip there is a description of the tunnel greenhouse.
- using bamboo sticks
- using bows made of thick iron wire.
A)# Greenhouse with (bamboo) sticks.
- (Bamboo) sticks 2.5 to 3 feet long, 8 sticks needed.
- Corrugated plate made of transparent PVC or PET, width 64 centimeters (25 inch). A plate of 214 centimeters (7 feet) long costs about 9 Euros.
This photo shows the size of the “ripples”. The values on the ruler are centimeters. One inch is equal to 2.54 centimeters.
A2) Building up
The good air circulation is due to many gaps between the corrugated closing plates and the edge of the corrugated plate, as shown on the photo above. Or there is a narrow gap between the perspex plates and the tunnel.
All tunnel greenhouses in this tip have similar plates at both ends.
Disadvantages: This greenhouse can be damaged (blown away) at strong wind. For opening the greenhouse it has to be dismantled and the plate must be laid down somewhere in the garden.
One can improve this greenhouse using a piece of clothesline wire.
- Make a loop, a knot and another loop in a piece of (plastified) rope or wire, see top photo. Make 2 of these.
- Bend a corrugated plate in a tunnel shape (n-shape).
- Put one rope with loops and knot around the tunnel of corrugated plate.
- Tie the long part of the rope at the small piece of the rope between knot and loop.
- The rope around the plate forms a “rotated D”.
- Repeat this with the other piece of rope.
- Shift or turn the rope until each loop is near the edges of the corrugated plate and is about 30 to 50 centimeters (1 ft to 1 ft 8 inch) away from the end of the tunnel.
- Put the greenhouse at the intended place in the garden.
- Fix the greenhouse to the earth; put (bamboo) sticks through the loops (slanting) in the soil, like this: \n/ .
- Put 2 or 4 bamboo sticks slanting in the soil against the tunnel between the ropes, like this: /n\ . The sticks take care of extra fixation to the earth and they keep the long sides of the tunnel straight; | | instead of ( ) .
- Put closing plates in the soil at both ends of the tunnel greenhouse.
- When desired, put a stick (at the outer side) against each closing plate.
B)# Greenhouse with iron wire bows (hoops) and thick iron pens.
- B1) Using bows (hoops) of thick iron wire
- B2) Using bows (hoops) of thinner iron wire.
My experience: The bows of thinner iron wire are easiest to make. And work just as well as bows of thick iron wire. Thinner iron wire (2.5 millimeters diameter) is for sale in many shops. Thick iron wire (2.8 or 3 millimeters diameter) is for sale in special shops or on the internet.
Bows (hoops) made of thick iron wire. In each bow there are loops.
The greenhouse is fixed in the garden soil using thick iron pens that are put through loops in the bows. At each long side of the tunnel there are 2 thick iron pins in the soil.
The tunnel greenhouse in closed position. It is fixed to the soil with 4 thick iron pens, 2 at each long side.
At one long side the greenhouse is in an “open”position. At the other long side, thick iron pens in loops fix the greenhouse to the soil.
At the top photo the greenhouse is a few inches open. At the bottom photo the tunnel is about 1 foot open.
Between the iron bow and the edge of the plate there is a piece of plastic hose. The hose has been cut in a longitudinal direction. The hose overcomes damage of the plate by the iron bow.
At the “open” position, the handle of a thick iron pen is put in a loop (eye) of the iron bow. This is at 2 positions of one long side of the plate.
At the other long side of the corrugated plate, thick iron pens keep the tunnel fixed to the soil.
You can open the tunnel at 2 long sides, using the same method. The greenhouse is a few inches above the soil then. The edges of the corrugated plate do not touch the soil. The plants are protected against (freezing) cold but still there is much ventilation.
B1c) Making bows (bending thick iron wire)
- Start with a piece of thick iron wire, length 130 cm (4 feet 3 inch).
- Use tongs (pliers).
- Bend the thick iron wire 8 inch from one end and turn it to form a loop (an “eye”). As shown on the 4 top photos above.
- Make a loop (an “eye”) in the short end of the wire. See bottom photo above.
- Do these actions at both ends of the wire.
- The thick wire has 2 “eyes”, one at each end.
- Measure the distance between these 2 “eyes”. This distance is about 82 centimeters (2 ft and 8 1/4 inch). See top photo.
- Bend the wire at the middle (double), as shown on the 2nd photo.
- Make an “eye” (loop) at the middle of the wire. Execute as follows:
- Lay a broom on the soil. Use the stem of the broom when making the eye (loop), as shown on the photos above.
- Again, measure the distance between the same 2 “eyes”. This distance should be about 69 centimeters (2 ft and 3 inch).
- Most of the time, this distance is somewhat bigger. Later, when the bow is over the corrugated plate, you can turn the middle eye when needed. When turning the middle eye you can change the length of the bow until it fits well over the plate.
- Bend the thick iron wire in an arc (bow) shape.
- Repeat these steps at the other piece of thick wire. For a tunnel, you need 2 identical bows.
- For one tunnel greenhouse you need:
- Two bows of thick iron wire with eyes and loops,
- Four (4) pieces of plastic hose,
- Four thick iron pens, made out of pieces of concrete iron rods. Each thick pen has a handle.
B1d) Making thick iron pens
- Put a piece of plastic hose over the short end of a concrete iron pen;
- Fix the pen in a bench vice, handle up.
- Put a piece of plastic hose over the handle part until the beginning of the curve.
- Use a hammer to hit on the free end of the plastic hose; the hose follows the curve.
As stated above, at B)#) My experience, making bows using thinner iron wire is much easier than when using thick wire.
- Detail info about the iron wire.
- Bend the iron wire in this rectangular shape;
- after bending there are 2 square angles in the wire.
- the wire at the left side and at the right side is about 67 centimeters (2 ft 2 3/8 inch) long.
- the central part, between 2 square angles, is about 66 centimeters (2 ft 2 inch) long.
- At each loop execute as follows:
- Hold 2 free pieces of wire in one hand.
- Take pliers in the other hand.
- Put the loop in the pliers.
- Use the pliers to turn the loop 1.5 or 2 turns (while holding the 2 free pieces of wire in the other hand).
- The photo above shows that the loop must be turned “left hand” (counter clockwise) using the pliers. The thumb and fingers hold the 2 free pieces of wire.
This loop has been turned well. In the wire, 2 loops need to be turned; each square angle must be transformed into a loop.
- Bend the piece of iron wire (with thin hose over it) in a U-shape as shown on the photos above. Heigth of the “U” is 10 centimeters (4 inch).
- Execute this at both sides.
- In the middle the loose endings are double for about 25 centimeters (10 inch).
Next step is twisting the iron wires;
- And turn (twist) the left side “loose wire” around the 2 other wires (the twisted “fixed wire” and the right side loose wire).
- You can turn this 3rd wire in the same direction; the 3rd wire falls in a groove (formed by twisting the first 2 wires).
- Or you turn the 3rd wire the other (opposite) direction; the 3rd wire goes across the other 2 wires at some positions.
- Both directions are okay.
- After this twisting, there are 3 wires at a distance of about 20 centimeters (8 inch).
1] More or broader tiewraps:
2] Untwisting the bow:
- When desired, you can make 2 “handles”;
- Tie a piece of nylon rope around each (outer) bow.
- Now you can lift, carry, move and put down the tunnel easily.
4] Water in plastic hose (my experience with the first bows of this type):
- During use in the garden, water will get into the thin plastic hose.
- There will be rain water flowing in.
- And condensed water (dew) at moist cold days of nights.
- The water can discolor the iron or cause some rust spots.
- Possible solution; use sharp diagonal cutting pliers to make a small hole in the thin hose.
- Make a small hole in the hose at each spot that touches the soil. For each bow this is at 4 positions (at 4 “curves”).
- Thanks to the curve, a small cut turns into an opening of a few millimeters wide.
- Water can drip of flow out of the hose into the garden soil through that opening.
- Making holes in the hose is much easier than preventing water from getting into the hose.
- After using the tunnel, you remove the bows. Then you can untwist the bows, remove the thin hoses, check the iron wirer and clean and dry the iron wires.
5] Tunnel ready for use:
This photo shows a short tunnel with 2 bows, ready for use.
At a long tunnel, 3 bows are used; 2 near the ends and 1 in the center.