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What pipe to use for raised bed hoop house/tunnel/netting frame, (etc)?

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  • What pipe to use for raised bed hoop house/tunnel/netting frame, (etc)?

    Hi all

    The internet/youtube is awash with people using pvc waterpipe to make arches for their raised beds, which are then covered with clear plastic (to make a greenhouse type set up), or netting (to keep insects and birds away from crops.

    The videos are mostly American and they all talk about Schedule 40 PVC water pipe. Usually 1/2 inch diameter. What is the equivalent type of pipe in the UK? I've had a look online but it is hard to tell from the pics whether it will be bendy enough. I'm sure it is quite a standard product, just not sure what it's called!

    If anyone could let me know that would be very helpful. Any tips on where to get it from cheap would also be great. I would be much happier if I could get it in black or at least a dark colour. White just wouldn't look right in my garden.

    Many thanks

    Max

  • #2
    Most people use 25mm blue mdpe pipe. Wick*s seems to be a fairly cheap option.

    The 25mm pipe fits nicely over the rebar type garden 'stakes' that most garden centres sell.
    Last edited by bario1; 04-08-2016, 04:00 PM.
    He-Pep!

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    • #3
      MDPE water pipe is the stuff. It's usually blue. I use 25mm although you can get away with 20mm. You can get it from Wickes or Screwfix, or slightly cheaper if you order online from various places.

      Other materials are possible, but MDPE is the commonest over here.

      (edit: as Bario said more succinctly )
      Last edited by Martin H; 04-08-2016, 04:02 PM.
      My gardening blog: In Spades, last update 30th April 2018.
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      • #4
        Snap Martin!
        He-Pep!

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        • #5
          The blue pipe is meant for underground and not uv stable - not that this matters when using it for hoop houses.

          The black pipe is uv stabilised but more expensive. Only really worth the extra cash if you care about the aesthetics

          There's yellow pipe as well meant for gas but I don't think that it's any better than the blue and I think it's a bit dearer.

          New all singing all dancing blog - Jasons Jungle

          �I have not failed 1,000 times. I have successfully discovered 1,000 ways to NOT make a light bulb."
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          �Negative results are just what I want. They�re just as valuable to me as positive results. I can never find the thing that does the job best until I find the ones that don�t.�
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          • #6
            You could use Conduit 20mm x 3m Black (60m) Pack of 20 | Plastic Conduit & Acc | Screwfix.com

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            • #7
              I ran out of water pipe last week when I sowed my carrots so I cut up the old water hose is lengths and stuck bamboo canes in the ends and it did a perfect job.

              And when your back stops aching,
              And your hands begin to harden.
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              • #8
                Originally posted by bario1 View Post
                Most people use 25mm blue mdpe pipe. Wick*s seems to be a fairly cheap option.

                The 25mm pipe fits nicely over the rebar type garden 'stakes' that most garden centres sell.
                Why bother with rebar? I make a guide hole and just push the end of the tube in the ground. I also have portable frames with timber frame bases
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                Last edited by Cadalot; 05-08-2016, 04:54 AM.
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                • #9
                  The rebar is used to add extra height to the tunnel so that there is a straight side before the arch

                  New all singing all dancing blog - Jasons Jungle

                  �I have not failed 1,000 times. I have successfully discovered 1,000 ways to NOT make a light bulb."
                  ― Thomas A. Edison

                  �Negative results are just what I want. They�re just as valuable to me as positive results. I can never find the thing that does the job best until I find the ones that don�t.�
                  ― Thomas A. Edison

                  - I must be a Nutter,VC says so -

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Cadalot View Post
                    Why bother with rebar? I make a guide hole and just push the end of the tube in the ground. I also have portable frames with timber frame bases
                    I like the frames Cadalot. Are they just saddle clips holding the pipe to the frames?

                    I was thinking of doing something similar but with the pipe on the outside of my raised beds. I was hoping that doing it on the outside I could remove the pipe but leave the clips in place.

                    To address jay-el's point about the height I was gonna have about 100mm of pipe attached at each side with two clips in an attempt to force an amount of straight edge before the pipe bends.
                    I fought the lawn.....and the lawn won!

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                    • #11
                      Many thanks for all the helpful replies.

                      Would definitely like to use black if possible, although I have now heard contrary arguments; that it would be more UV stable vs it would degrade quicker. Still, I guess even a few years usage would be ok, although I don’t like things going to landfill so the longer it lasts the better.

                      I’ve found a few online retailers selling coils of black MDPE but no-one local. Not sure if it is because I’m looking in the wrong places… Any tips on what type of shops I should be contacting would be very helpful. I’m in North Norfolk btw, just in case anyone reading is local.

                      It’s interesting that on this side of the pond everyone is using the coiled MDPE. Looking at people’s structures it seems to serve the purpose perfectly, I had ruled it out at first thinking in would be TOO flexible. But I’m presuming it isn’t seeing as it is used so much. In the US they tend to use straight lengths of pipe which then bend and form and arch under their own pressure (if that makes sense).

                      I’ve taken note of the stuff veggie chicken linked to (thanks for that), and have also seen stuff like these about:

                      Conduit 20mm x 3m Black (60m) Pack of 20 | Plastic Conduit & Acc | Screwfix.com

                      FloPlast Pushfit 32mm Waste Pipe Black 3m x 10 | Push Fit Waste | Screwfix.com

                      If I cannot get the MDPE locally, would they work or do you think they would be too brittle and snap? Would they last as well? I guess I’d also have to think about the overall height because my beds are a little wider at 5 foot….

                      Thanks again to everyone for the fantastic help.

                      Max

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                      • #12
                        Is there screwfix near you? They do the blue pipe as well.

                        MDPE Pipe Blue 25mm x 50m | MDPE Pipe | Screwfix.com

                        P.s.
                        My beds are 8x4 and I cut my tube at 10 foot length which gives me enough to arch over and push in the soil either side. I have 5 per bed 2 foot apart with a cane tied across the apex. The clips to hold the net on are made from the same blue pipe, about 4 inches long, split and rounded.
                        Last edited by Jay-ell; 08-08-2016, 04:36 PM.

                        New all singing all dancing blog - Jasons Jungle

                        �I have not failed 1,000 times. I have successfully discovered 1,000 ways to NOT make a light bulb."
                        ― Thomas A. Edison

                        �Negative results are just what I want. They�re just as valuable to me as positive results. I can never find the thing that does the job best until I find the ones that don�t.�
                        ― Thomas A. Edison

                        - I must be a Nutter,VC says so -

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                        • #13
                          Thanks. The blue I can find in a few places around here, but I'm hoping to use black.

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                          • #14
                            Yes, the black 20mm conduit would work, get the 3mt lengths & slide them onto 18mm canes 2ft in the ground & 2ft out.
                            sigpicGorillas are very intelligent, but they don't have to be as delicate as chimps -- they can just smash open the termite nest,
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                            • #15
                              Can garden stakes (metal and plastic) be cut easily to length?
                              Last edited by davety; 09-11-2021, 09:21 AM.

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