April 11, 2012

The ULTIMATE Tomato Hoop House Trellis of Death and Dismemberment

Perhaps the title is a little dramatic, but this is a killer trellis that the Adam and I did this past weekend.  The hoop house was about $100 in materials (all purchased from a big box store), which certainly seems like a lot, but this thing is BIG!  It's about 7' wide, 10' long, and 7' high.

The goal of this project was to create a trellis for growing tomatoes that is sturdy and inexpensive for the amount of crops that can be grown and that allows a lot of air flow, sunlight, and easy access for picking and maneuvering the vines.  Although we did this for tomatoes, this trellis isn't limited to that particular crop.  Just imagine this thing covered in cucumbers and sweet peas!












Materials:
  • 1 1/4"x10' UV resistant electrical pvc pipe (x3)
  • 3/4"x10' UV resistant electrical pvc pipe with connectable ends (x10)
  • PVC plumbing adhesive
  • 3'x50' Galvanized welded wire fence (x2)
  • Pack of rebar ties

Tools:
  • Measuring tape
  • String
  • Saw
  • Wire cutters
  • Gloves
  • Sledge hammer
  • Scrap piece of 2x4

Method:
  1. Prep the soil for growing your crop.
  2. Glue 2 lengths of the 3/4" pipe together (repeat 4 more times to get five 20' long pipes) and allow to cure for 24 hours.
  3. Cut the 1 1/4" pipe to 2 1/2' lengths.
  4. Measure a 10' by 7' area and create line guides making sure to square the corners.
  5. At 2' intervals along the long side of the measured area, pound the 1 1/4" pipe into the ground using a piece of 2x4 for cushioning so as not to damage the pipe.
  6. Insert the 3/4" pipe into the 1 1/4" pipes creating the hoop.
  7. Span the wire fence over the hoops and attach the fence to the pipe using rebar ties.
  8. Plant your vegetables or ornamentals or whatever!  Have fun and enjoy!


14 comments:

  1. Wow!! can't wait to see it when it's covered with 'maters!!

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    1. Me too! I hope the tomatoes hang down inside the hoop house so I can just reach up and pick. That would be so exciting!!!

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  2. This is fantastic!!! Can't wait to see everything you grow in there...especially all the viney stuff!!!!!

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    1. Thank you! I will have to be sure to brag, er, share what grows! This year, it's only hybrid tomatoes, but maybe next year I will diversify.

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  3. Wow that is really a big trellis. So the PVC pipes are easy to bend like that, in a loop? It is also my problem in the farm, however it is not easy in our place to have those materials. But that is certainly beautiful. And your title is certainly very catchy, i had morbid thoughts before reading the body!

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    1. We selected the 3/4" because it seemed the most bendy while still being sturdy. I believe the inspiration for this one was based on an all metal design if it helps - rebar and hogwire. I'm sure there are loads of ways to do this!

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  4. Impressive trellis! I would have thought the pvc pipes would break at the joints, you proved me wrong. The 2 x 4 welded wire also should reduce the strain on those pipes. Found our peas are blooming today. Frost is expected tonight.

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    1. Ha! I was worried about that too, but there's a 3-4" cuff for connecting the pipes that's built into the pipe. And we took the glue cure time VERY seriously. It still might break, but I suspect, as you noted as well, that the wire fence will help maintain the shape and discourage breakage.

      Hope your peas survived!!!

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  5. You always have the neatest more interesting posts! This is a serious tomato trellis! Looks great!!! I have my 4 plants in a stock tank and the guy that waters for us rigged it up with all these strings etc... I just let him go for it- hahaha looks great though. Not quite what you have done.... hahahha Can't wait to see updated photos of everything!!!

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    1. Aw, thanks! I actually looked around a little bit at various tomato trellis ideas, and I came across lots with strings. This is a REALLY awesome resource for selecting a trellis system that's right for you!

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  6. That is one swell looking trellis. I am going to plant Space Saver Cucumbers this year because I never have a good trellis for them to climb. I'm sure I will still need a tomato cage for them. Speaking of which, what is your opinion on watering tomatoes - morning or evening?

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    1. I really want to grow cucumbers, but tomatoes took priority in this household because of how many we eat and our limitations on space right now.

      I don't really have a preference to be honest - I water once or twice a week (after the first two weeks of planting), and on that kind of watering schedule, I don't think morning or evening watering matters so much. I probably have better luck with evening watering because of the heat here.

      What about you? Any preference?

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    2. I've never been a very successful tomato grower. I bought 7 tomato plants this year and I want to do everything right. It's easier for me to water in the evening but I hear that it will attract disease and bugs. I am trying to switch to morning but it's a struggle. I'm determined to get this right!

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    3. I don't think evening watering will be an issue so long as the plants have good air circulation. If you're worried, you could be careful about watering only the soil and not the vines?

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