Use a thick plastic cover to protect your plants from frost. Place some heavy objects such as bricks on the edges to secure it.
with shade cloth to provide a little shade for tender young plants. You can provide protection the same way for the fall crop.
Another neat looking PVC frame is one in the shape of a covered wagon. This takes a little longer to make and requires just a bit more material, but it gives a lot more room and is much easier to use when you have a cover over the frame. It requires the same two 10-foot long PVC pipes, but they're arched over each end of your box. Then, you need an extra 4-foot-long piece of pipe that becomes the strut holding the two arches from collapsing. Tying the intersection will not work in this design, so you have to drill holes in the center of the arches and in each end of the strut, so that a bolt will connect the central strut to the end of each arch. Use a bolt and nut that won t tear the plastic or net covering. Now you can see the shape is much more conducive to lifting one side to work inside, and it makes it easier to throw a blanket over the entire 4x4 on a cold night.
For those that don't want such a high frame, you just cut the 10-foot PCV pipes down to 6 or 8 feet and youll have a much lower wagon top. For those of you thinking, "I'll just buy one 10-footer and cut it in half," that wont work. The arch over a 4-foot span has to be more than 5 feet long.
Building Boxes and Structures
Locate the center of your two ten foot pipes.
Drill one hole in the center of two 10-foot PVC pipes.
Place each pipe in a corner and bend as shown.
Drill holes in the ends of a 4 f oot PVC pipe. It will be the supporting strut. Insert a nut and a bolt to keep it in place.
Building Boxes and Structures
What do you do with heavy fruiting plants such as peppers, eggplants, and giant marigolds? The easiest way to support the branches of these plants without doing a lot of staking and tying is to make a permanent cage that the plants can grow through. The cage's height depends on the height of the mature plants. This could be for 1 square foot, 2, 4, or for the whole 16 square feet in a 4x4 garden; it all depends on what is planted in each square. The cage can be self-supporting with sides that stick into the soil just like the wire U-frame previously mentioned, or, if you are making a support for the entire 4x4, it is very easy to put a stake of some sort in each corner—either wood or metal—and then suspend the wire horizontally between these four corners.
Even better, if you are supporting the entire 4 X 4-foot area, put in the four corner stakes and then horizontally tie on some nylon tomato trellis netting. This netting is available at most garden stores and is particularly good because it is soft and cushiony and won't cut the plants when they rub against it in the wind. It also has large openings you can reach in to and the plants can grow through. It wont bother any of the shorter plants either. It is very easy material to work with and well-suited for gardening. Corner posts must be very strong and firmly held so the horizontal wire or netting won't sag. Posts can be constructed o: wood and driven into the ground or attached with deck screws to the inside or outside corner of the wood frame. You can also use PVC pipe or even metal pipe or fence posts. The many options available show how flexible Square Foot Gardening can be.
Tall lanky plants such as dahlias, gladiolas, and sunflowers may also need extra support as they mature and grow in height. Sunflower seeds will need temporary protection when first planted to prevent birds or rabbits from digging up the seeds and to prevent other birds from eating the young sprouts. Temporarily covering your garden with chicken wire 6 inches over the box will provide this protection until the plants get that tall. Then, after the plants reach a height of about 3 feet, it is time to put in four corner posts—strong steel fence posts and nylon netting horizontally at several different levels. Start the first at 3 feet and the last should be as high as the fence posts. This will support plants through to maturity and keep them from falling over in heavy wind and rainstorms.
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