Heilsa, Fellow Transitioners,
I was reading a great article in _Colorado_Gardener_ for thier harvest edition on school gardens which in and of itself is a great transition idea. They had some nice pictures of raised beds with framing, which I assume is used for either plant protection and/or climbing, which were made of pvc (yes, I know, not transition material, but is durable and fine for outside use). These inspired me to build a set as an experiment for our raised bed, which still has tomatoes ripening. I documented the procedure and decided to post it here and see if folks would be interested in doing a transition workshop on this.
Originally we were going to do an A frame style cold frame with a small flat ridge line, but due to the size of our largest tomato plant, we needed to make some modifications to the design and decided to build it more like a true house with stick framing and a gable roof. The bed is made of 2 4x4x8 posts stacked on top of each other for the long sides and 2 4x4x4 posts stacked for the short ends.
Here is a detailed listing of the parts used to build the frame:
12 10' 1/2-inch pvc pipes
8 1/2-inch 90-degree sleeve elbows
8 1/2-inch 45-degree sleeve elbows
4 1/2-inch sleeve crosses
2 1/2-inch sleeve tees
32 3/4x3/4x1/2-inch T sleeve reducers, (3/4 inch allows for ease of movement)
1 PVC cutter
1 bag of 1/2-inch pipe clamps for attaching the frame to the bed
Below is a drawing and cutting diagram of the pieces to be cut from the 1/2-inch pipe.
The steps for building the frame are as follows:
1. Using the diagram above, cut the pieces as follows;
A: 4 8-foot (red)
B: 4 4-foot (green)
C: 8 32-inch (yellow)
D: 10 of 1 3/4-inch (purple)
E: 3 29-inch (orange)
F: 12 2-foot (blue)
G: 2 5-foot (pink)
2. Gather 2 A pieces, 2 B pieces, 4 right angle elbows, and 20 reducer Ts.
3. Slide 2 Ts onto each B piece; slide 8 Ts onto each A piece (it helps if you attach an elbow to the end of each A and B pipe).
4. Attach A to B pieces, using elbows, forming a 4' x 8' rectangle.
5. Take 8 C pieces, 8 Ds, and 8 45-deg elbows; attach an elbow to the end of each C piece. Insert D piece into each elbow.
6. Connect one pair of C/D pieces with a 1/2-inch tee; repeat with one more pair of C/D pieces.
7. Connect one pair of C/D pieces with a 1/2-inch cross; repeat with one more pair of C/D pieces.
8. Insert one set of ribs created in step 6 into the tees at one end of the rectangular frame from step 4; repeat with the other set.
9. Insert ribs from step 7 into the tees in the middle of the frame.
10. Insert one E piece between ribs along top, to form the spine.
You should have some thing that looks similar to this;
The following steps are for making the bottom part which the top sits on (duh).
11. Gather remaining 2 A pieces, 2 B pieces, 4 right angle elbows, and the reamining 12 reducer Ts.
12. Slide 2 1/2-inch tees onto each B piece, attach elbows to each side.
13. Slide 4 Ts onto each A piece; attach to the 2 elbows on the B pieces, forming a rectangle.
14. Insert an F piece into each T in the rectangle. It should look like this;
15. Now the hard part, which takes two people. Have one person hold the top over the bottom; the other person goes around and inserts the F pieces into the Ts on the top piece.
16. Take a rubber mallet and tap all the connections until they are sold.
We added two more crosses in the middle of the spine (connected with two additional D pieces) and attached two 5-foot pipes (G) to the cross connections facing down, driving the "posts" into the bed about 6 inches. This really helped the stability and also allows for deep watering.
Here is a picture of the finished frame minus the two additional posts.
If anyone has questions, comments, etc. feel free to contact me through TC or at coultraguy at gmail dot com.