An Idea with Legs

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Re: An Idea with Legs

Postby mannytheseacow » Thu Apr 28, 2016 1:22 am

Nutcase, welcome back! I've been using cattle panels for all sorts of things, too. I don't care for them as structures because it seems tarps just don't last and I hate that disposable lifestyle. I suppose it could work great if topped with a little tin.

My favorite use lately is as a cover on my raised beds. My beds are 4 x 8 so one panel will cover two beds. The wire keeps the chickens from destroying the garden and the wire spacing is about perfect for getting nice square plantings. I don personally care about square, but things look a lot neater when we have people over.
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Re: An Idea with Legs

Postby Nutcase » Thu Apr 28, 2016 1:15 pm

Hi Manny. It's good to be back.

I will of course be interested to see how well these clear tarps hold up. It may be be worth investing in some high end greenhouse covering for at least some stuff.

Where light isn't important, some sort of sheet metal could be good. For some purposes, one could put the rain barrier on the 2x4s rather than the mesh.

I'm more against throwing stuff away thoughtlessly rather than disposability per se. Wood chip mulch is a "disposable" ground cover...but in a good way. Black plastic sheeting lasts longer. But I take your point.

I guess a panel might reduce digging some, though I haven't seen it stop it completely, plus the plants can get eaten. Do you put the mesh right on the ground, or do you stand it off?
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Re: An Idea with Legs

Postby mannytheseacow » Thu Apr 28, 2016 3:00 pm

Even the greenhouse plastic breaks down on me after a season or so, but I think the hard winters in the Midwest may take some of the longevity away on plastic products. Either way.... I have some old military canvas tarps that I use for roll-up livestock enclosures. They are much more durable and might be better for a long lasting idea with legs. Even though I'm tall, I like the compactness of your structures. Nothing worse than having a 10 foot tall wall of wood falling over on you!

For the bed covers, my soil is typically 2-3 inches below the top of the raised bed frame, which the panels rest on- so yes, the panel will sit about 2-3 inches off the soil. No, it doesn't protect the plants from chickens eating them... I don't use it for greens or other poultry delicacies... but rather use it for covering things like sweet potatoes and carrots. The birds seem to leave these plants alone once they are established, but they love to scratch in the beds while the little seedlings and slips are getting established and this is where the panels come in handy. And yes, the panels occasionally work well for livestock, too!
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Re: An Idea with Legs

Postby Nutcase » Thu Apr 28, 2016 8:38 pm

By "high end" I'm talking about double wall polycarbonate or polyethylene, or equivalent, not films, just to make sure we're on the same page. I've seen some 5 year old Solexx that looks to still be in good shape.

I've got a heavy canvas lumber tarp lying around (came with the place) and it does seem to hold up to the elements very well.

One interesting option might be semi-rigid sheet under the mesh and over the headers, not flat but sized to arch up to the mesh, with or without an external cover. Might be enough to eliminated the condensation/dripping problem.

I've been thinking a lot about what I might actually want to accomplish with a greenhouse out here. As Matt has pointed out elsewhere, we are light-limited here in the winter, trying to keep things actively growing between November and February maybe isn't worth the effort. However, I've got a lot of animal bedding to compost, probably don't need 70" of rain on it. Getting the ground warmed up a month or so earlier is maybe practical and worthwhile. Keeping tomatoes and peppers healthy further into fall would be good too. They like greenhouse warmth, but they don't like high humidity and dripping. Setting things up so that it's easy to manage is an interesting puzzle.
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Re: An Idea with Legs

Postby Nutcase » Wed May 11, 2016 5:10 am

Picking up from that stanchion barricade, here is a proof of concept for "postless" fencing:

Image

Strictly speaking, this isn't "An Idea with Legs." However, at this point I'm not sure it deserves its own thread, plus it has some issues and limitations in common.

One thing you will notice is that the 2x4s on the ends pass through the next-to-last openings rather than the last. An 8' board can't lock a stretch of mesh longer than 8' with 8" openings, and the ends overlap where they cross, so with two boards there is an "extra" opening on a 16' panel. There are various solutions to this problem, such as longer boards, longer overlaps, or shortening the panels. Or just forgetting about any fixed relationship between the panel and board ends, just unify the panels with one-opening overlaps and hog rings or equivalent as needed.

Stabilizing ends, and therefore the whole structure, still requires posts. The 2x4s do not enhance the barricade function, though the structure could still be enough to keep less athletic/exploratory dogs and goats on one side. Longer runs might require some posts, but fewer than straight fencing. It's not really a long term solution in most situations, but as a temporary arrangement it may have a place.
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