When building a small frost/shade structure, using PVC can make your construction process a lot simpler. You can use the ½ inch PVC for a smaller structure or you can build it with the heavier ¾ PVC. I chose to build my larger frost/shade structure out of ¾ PVC in a hexagonal shape.
It is as simple as building with Tinker Toys. No gluing is necessary. By not gluing your pieces together, you can change the height as needed and it is easy to dis-assemble and store when not needed.
Here are the supplies you will need to build your own Frost/Shade structure:
9-10ft long ¾ PVC pipes
16-¾ PVC T’s
8 – ¾ couplers
1 PVC cutter
Once you have collected all your parts, cut your straight pieces. For the top and bottom of your structure, each straight piece should be 6 inches long. You will need:
16 six-inch-long pieces of 3/4 PVC
For the straight sides you will need:
8 – 5 ft. sections of ¾ PVC
*16 - 2 1/2 ft. sections of ¾ PVC (If you are using the couplers) *
8 - 3/4 couplers (The couplers will allow you to make a convertible shorter structure if you want)
Assemble your top and bottom pieces first:
Next-Assemble the top sides of the structure using your 5 ft. 3/4 PVC:
If you have an old cotton or flannel sheet, you can use that to cover your PVC structure to protect your plants from a damaging night time or early morning frost.
You can also use the Soil Separator to wrap around your PVC frost/shade structure to help protect it. For more heat during the day time, you can leave the white soil separator clothe on your PVC structure. As the heat of the radiates in, the interior temperature will increase dramatically just like a walk-in green house.
To make this work, you will need to sew two - 3-foot-wide X 11 foot 6 inch pieces together so that they will wrap around the PVC frame. I used a one-inch-wide (.875) Bias Tape to re-enforce the seam as well as nylon thread. For the top of the of the frost protection clothe, I cut a 3 ft. X 3 ft. piece of the Soil Separator clothe into a 3 ft. wide circle and then sewed that on the top to enclose it.
You should sew in an extra seam on the bottom of the clothe structure so that you can add paracord at the bottom that will allow you to tighten the bottom. This will help to prevent then wind from blowing the frost/shade clothe off. I used 9 yards of Double Fold Bias Tape on my frost protector to add some extra strength to the area where the cord would be.
On the bottom of the frost cover I used a Double Barrel Cord Lock to tighten the para cord up to the frame.
To enclose the top of the Frost Clothe, I cut a 3 foot circle from the Soil Separator Roll.
You may want to add a dome frame to re-enforce the top of the structure to prevent snow from weighing down the top of the Frost Cover. This can be build out of ½ PVC pipe, ½ T’s and ½ 45 degree couplers.
You can also build a smaller unit that will fit nicely over a 15-gallon nursery pot. In addition to keeping your winter veggies warm,
It can also keep your curious pets out of the pots as well.
One note of caution. Since the Soil Separator clothe is a bit thin, it would be a good idea to use a fine 220 grit sand paper just to smooth out the edges on your connections. I noticed that those edges had a tendency to grab the Soil Separator clothe when I removed it from the PVC frame.
Be sure to keep your plants watered well. The increased warmth, although very beneficial, will also dry your plants out.
You can also order a manufactured structure like the one made by ShelterLogic.
It will also keep your curious pets out of the pots too when i is closed up.
This style is a walk-in type but it will accommodate a number of different sized plants and can be ordered online from Homedepot.com.
A manufactured pull over Frost/Shade cover is also available from Homedepot.com.
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