13) Solid greenhouse made of transparent corrugated plate

tunnel-dicht tunnel-open

In this tip:

  • Introduction
  • A)# Greenhouse with (bamboo) sticks
  • B)# Greenhouse with iron wire bows (hoops) and thick iron pens.

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Introduction

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.

This greenhouse is very useful:

  • 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.

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In this tip there is a description of the tunnel greenhouse.

You can use this greenhouse during the winter and spring. Then close both ends of the tunnel with “closing plates” made of transparent corrugated plate or made of perspex plate. Each closing plate is about 40 x 40 centimeters (1 ft  4 inch  square). Perspex plate can be sawn or scribed and broken off. New corrugated plate can be cut using sharp scissors. “Old” corrugated plate can be sawn carefully using a blunt wood saw.

You can put a (bamboo) stick in the soil against a closing plate. To fix the closing plate.

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Two constructions of greenhouses are described here;

  • using bamboo sticks
  • using bows made of thick iron wire.

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A)# Greenhouse with (bamboo) sticks.

stokkentunnel-ea

A1) Needed:

  • (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.

currogated

This photo shows the size of the “ripples”. The values on the ruler are centimeters. One inch is equal to 2.54 centimeters.

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A2) Building up

  • Put 2 or 3 sticks (slanting) in the garden soil.
  • Lay one long side of the corrugated plate against these sticks.
  • Bend the corrugated plate in a round form.
  • Put 2 or 3 other sticks (slanting) in the soil against the other long side of the corrugated plate.
  • Put the closing plates in the soil, one at each end of the tunnel greenhouse.
  • When desired, you can put a stick at the outer side against each closing plate.

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Advantages: Low price and easy to make. It is a warm greenhouse with a good air circulation.

corrugated-end

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.

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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.

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A3) Improvement

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.

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 Advantages: This construction is stronger and the greenhouse keeps in shape when moved.

Disadvantages: Harder to make and there are strings on the soil between the plants.

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B)# Greenhouse with iron wire bows (hoops) and thick iron pens.

When you make small bows (hoops) of iron wire, you can put them over (around) the bended corrugated plate. This forms a tunnel greenhouse that stays in shape.

You can make “eyes” (loops) in the bows. Put thick iron pens in these loops to fix the greenhouse to the soil. Or to keep the tunnel greenhouse open.

Below there are 2 descriptions about these tunnels with metal bows;

  • B1) Using bows (hoops) of thick iron wire
  • B2) Using bows (hoops) of thinner iron wire.

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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.

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B1) Using bows of thick iron wire

At this construction (made in 2011) the corrugated plate is kept in a round form using bows (hoops) of thick iron wire. In the iron bows there are loops. The greenhouse is fixed to the garden by putting thick iron pens through these loops into the soil. The greenhouse can also be set to an “open” position.

B1a) Tunnel greenhouse in the garden

closed-1

two-bows

Bows (hoops) made of thick iron wire. In each bow there are loops.

close-pin

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.

closed-1

The tunnel greenhouse in closed position. It is fixed to the soil with 4 thick iron pens, 2 at each long side.

one-side-open

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.

hose

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.

opened

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.

lifted

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.

To prevent the lifted tunnel from blowing away:

  • Put also 2 thick iron pens through the outer eyes of the bows.
  • And put a thick iron pen in the soil at each end of the tunnel.

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Advantages: This greenhouse is robust and will not be damaged or be blown away by heavy wind. The tunnel can easily be opened or moved to another place in your garden.

Disadvantages: This greenhouse is more difficult to make and more expensive.

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B1b) Needed:

  • Corrugated plate made of transparent PVC or PET, width 64 centimeters (25 inch). A corrugated plate of 214 centimeters (7 feet) long costs about 9 Euros.
  • Thick iron wire, about 2.8 or 3 millimeters diameter.
  • Thick iron pens, made of concrete iron rods of 6 to 8 millimeter (1/4 to 5/16 inch).
  • Pieces of plastic garden hose or aquarium hose, fitting over the thick iron pens.

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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.

You need 2 bows for a greenhouse. So execute the steps above at 2 pieces of thick iron wire.

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Making bows (continued)

  • 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.

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Making bows (continued)

boog-3a boog-3c

  • 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.

longitudinal

  • Use scissors to cut each piece of plastic hose in the longitudinal direction.

boog-3b

  • Bend the corrugated plate in a tunnel shape and put (shove) both bows of iron wire over the plate, at each end one bow.
  • Put a piece of plastic hose (cut in length) over the edge of the corrugated plate, in the space between plate and bow. This hose protects the plate from damaging by the iron bow.
  • Is the space between the bow and the plate too big or too small, turn the middle eye of the bow clockwise or counter clockwise. This turning makes the bow longer or shorter. You can use a round wooden rod or tongs to turn the middle eye.

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B1d) Making thick iron pens

bend-pens

  • Saw the pieces of concrete iron rods to the right lenth, about 70 centimeters (2 ft,  4 inch). Use a bench vice and a hack saw (or a steel bolt cutter).
  • At each thick iron pen, bend over about 10 centimeters (4 inch). Use a bench vice.

nieuwe-boog-55 nieuwe-boog-56

 

  • 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.

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B2) Tunnel with thinner iron wire

As stated above, at B)#) My experience, making bows using thinner iron wire is much easier than when using thick wire.

Design 2016. You can use thinner iron wire (2.5 millimeter diameter) to make a bow. This iron wire is much easier to bend than wire of 2.8 or 3 millimeters diameter. That is useful when making bows. But not okay when the bow or the tunnel does not keep its round shape during usage.

nieuwe-boog-46

With this thinner iron wire (2.5 mm) you can make sturdy bows when you use 2 wires next to each other. Below a description.

Each bow has 2 loops (eyes) just above the soil to fix the greenhouse in the garden soil using thick iron pens. Use the same thick iron pins as described at chapter B1d).

Thin plastic hose is used to overcome damage of the plate by the iron bow.

The tunnel can be put in an “open” position by putting the handle of a thick iron pen between the iron bow and the corrugated plate (at 2 sites of one long side).

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First a remark:

On the photos below, the corrugated plate has a milky colour. But the greenhouse has been made of transparent corrugated plate.

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Needed:

nieuwe-boog-1b

  • Iron wire, thickness 2.5 millimeter.
  • Thin plastic hose, to be sold in an animal shop.

nieuwe-boog-2

  • Detail info about the iron wire.

nieuwe-boog-3a

  • Tools: pliers and one bolt of 8 millimeter (1/3 inch).

nieuwe-boog-4a

  • At a corrugated plate of 65 centimeters (2 ft 1.5 inch) wide, you need about 200 centimeters (6 ft   7 inch) iron wire.
  • Cut 200 centimeters of iron wire.

nieuwe-boog-26b

  • 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.

nieuwe-boog-8

  • Change each square angle into a loop (eye);
    • Hold the wire with 2 hands, each hand at one side of the square angle.
    • Make a big loop in the wire.
    • Make the loop smaller by pushing on both ends of the wire.
    • Put the bolt in the loop. Pull and turn both ends of the wire until the loop fits well around the bolt.

Remark:

nieuwe-boog-41

You can clamp the bolt in a bench vice. Making the loop in the wire is easier then.

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nieuwe-boog-7

  • Take the bolt out of the loop. Or take the loop from the bolt.

nieuwe-boog-7a

nieuwe-boog-9

Use your hands and pliers to turn the loop into its desired shape as shown on the photo above. Below a step by step description;

  • Use gloves.

nieuwe-boog-43

nieuwe-boog-42

  • 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.

nieuwe-boog-9

This loop has been turned well. In the wire, 2 loops need to  be turned; each square angle must be transformed into a loop.

nieuwe-boog-10

  • Ater turning there are 2 loops (eyes) in the iron wire. Distance between these eyes is about 58 centimeters (7 centimeters less than the width of the plate). [ about 1 ft  10.8 inch  (2  3/4  inch less than the width of the plate)].
  • On these photos the plate has a milky colour. But the greenhouse has been made of transparent corrugated plate.

nieuwe-boog-28

  • Cut 2 pieces of thin plastic hose. Length of each piece is about 20 centimeters (8 inch).

nieuwe-boog-29

  • At each side of the iron wire, slide 1 piece of thin hose up to the loop (eye).
  • (On this photo and next photos, old, used, light brown pieces of plastic hose have been used. They are better visible on the photos than new pieces of transparent plastic hose).

nieuwe-boog-30

  • 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.

nieuwe-boog-49

  • This photo shows the “bow” after bending the loose iron wires.
  • Size of the bow is about 80 centimeters (1 ft, 19.5 inch). Click on the photo for wide view.

nieuwe-boog-48

  • In the middle the loose endings are double for about 25 centimeters (10 inch).

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Next step is twisting the iron wires;

nieuwe-boog-32 nieuwe-boog-33

  • Turn (twist) the right side “loose wire” around the “fixed wire”.

nieuwe-boog-34

  • 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).

nieuwe-boog-50

nieuwe-boog-35

  • Put (broad or narrow) tiewraps around all 3 wires, about 1 centimeter (0.4 inch) from the ends.
  • With tiewraps mounted on, the wires keep twisted and do not get loose so easily.

nieuwe-boog-51

nieuwe-boog-36

  • Bend the wires in a round form to make a bow.

nieuwe-boog-37

  • Put the bow around (over) a piece of bent corrugated plate.
  • Bend the ends of the bow around the edges of the corrugated plate.
  • Execute these steps with all bows needed for the tunnel greenhouse.
  • On this photo the plate has a milky colour. But the greenhouse has been made of transparent corrugated plate.

nieuwe-boog-38

  • When needed bend the ends of the bow some further.
  • Use the same thick iron pins as described at chapter B1d).
  • When bent well, the handle of a thick iron pen fits well between a ripple and the bow.
  • On this photo the plate has a milky colour. But the greenhouse has been made of transparent corrugated plate.

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Remarks

1]  More or broader tiewraps:

nieuwe-boog-40

  • You can put 2 narrow tiewraps next to each other.

nieuwe-boog-50

  • Or use wide (broad) tiewraps.
  • Then the 3 wires keep better in their twisted position when bending the bow.

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2]  Untwisting the bow:

nieuwe-boog-39

  • When needed untwist the bow temporary.
  • This can be done to enlarge or to decrease (make smaller) the end of the bow so it fits better over the bended corrugated plate.
  • Then twist all 3 wires again.
  • Put the tiewraps back over the 3 wires or put new tiewraps on.

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3]  Handles:

nieuwe-boog-44

  • 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.

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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.

nieuwe-boog-52

  • Possible solution; use sharp diagonal cutting pliers to make a small hole in the thin hose.

nieuwe-boog-53

  • 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”).

nieuwe-boog-54

  • 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.

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5]  Tunnel ready for use:

nieuwe-boog-46

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.

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This entry was posted in endive, greenhouse, leek, lettuce. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to 13) Solid greenhouse made of transparent corrugated plate

  1. Pingback: 14) Each week two heads of lettuce | sjefgardentips

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