» Extend Growing Season 6 weeks both Spring and Fall

Extend Growing Season 6 weeks both Spring and Fall

All who are interested in extending your growing season – particularly with vertical plants – may want to save the following description of covered T-Frames. You can plant 4-6 weeks earlier in the Spring, and harvest 4-6 weeks later in the fall if you do it properly. For pictures, visit the Photos page on the Group website at

In a garden with 18″ X 30′ beds and 3 1/2′ aisles, place 8 T-Frames at 10′ intervals in two adjacent beds parallel with the inside stakes, so that the 4″ X 4″ posts are 3 1/2′ apart. The top of the “T” should be 32″ long, and thus the width of both together is 6′ 6″.

For stability, nail each set of two T-Frames together – bridging the gap between them – with 6 1/2′ long 2″ X 4″s. Next, tie all T-Frames together lengthwise using 6 – 10′ 2 X 4’s. Now you have a 6 1/2′ X 30′ greenhouse frame covering two Grow-Beds or Grow-Boxes.

Buy 32 – 3/4″ 45 degree PVC elbows and 1″ pipe straps. Nail or screw the straps and elbows at 2-foot intervals along both sides of the 2 X 4 frame, with the elbows facing up and to the center of the greenhouse.

Buy 16 – 10′-long pieces of 3/4″ PVC Schedule 200 pipe, 16 – 3/4″ pipe straps, and 4 – 8′ pieces of 1″ X 2″ lumber. Cut the PVC pipe and the 1″ X 2″ lumber to to 7 1/2′ lengths. Nail the 1 X 2’s together, using the 6″ pieces, making a single piece 30′ long. Nail or screw the 3/4″ pipe straps to the 1 X 2″ wood at 2-foot intervals, on the same side of the wood as the 6″ pieces which hold the wood together. Insert the 3/4″ PVC pipes through the straps. With the wood on top, insert the PVC pieces into the 45 degree PVC elbows – creating the arched roof.

Buy a roll of 6-mil 24′-wide greenhouse plastic at least 37′ long (do NOT use construction plastic. It will become brittle and tear within 3-4 months). Cover the greenhouse, with 3 1/2′ overlapping on each end.

Buy 8 – 1″-long eye bolts and 130′ of 1/4″ nylon rope. Attach eye bolts on the side of each T-Frame T – 1″ in from the edge and 1″ down from the top. Cut rope into 8 – 16′ lengths. Tie one end of rope to each eye bolt. Hammer a 3 1/2″ nail into the top of the 2″ X 4″ on the upper outside edge near the eye bolt. Tie short loops into ropes at 10′, 12′ and 14′ to give 3 levels of opening the sides of your greenhouse plastic.

Buy 16 – 8′-long pieces of 1″ X 2″ lumber. Cut all to 7 1/2′ lengths. Cut 2 into 4 – 3 3/4′ lengths. Place wood on both side edges of greenhouse plastic along both sides of greenhouse and screw together, sandwiching the plastic between the two pieces of wood. Alternate lengths of 1″ X 2″ between 3 3/4′ and 7 1/2′, to make the entire 30′ length strong. Roll plastic sides up in warm weather, and lower in cold weather.

Fold and attach plastic on ends to secure an air-tight covering in cold weather, and open when weather is warm.

After a few of you handy builders have done this, you can help me improve the instructions, and perhaps provide all of us with some graphic illustrations.