Need help finding ...

Discussion in 'Gardening and Agriculture' started by mosquitomountainman, Jun 3, 2010.

  1. mosquitomountainman

    mosquitomountainman I invented the internet. :rofl:

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    heavy (semi-rigid) plastic or thin/flexible, fiberglass sheet to make cloches (also know as - Solar Cones or Hot Caps) for gardening. Can be clear or frosted/opaque.

    Does anyone know where they might sell the raw materials to make our own?

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  2. Asatrur

    Asatrur Well-Known Member

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    Love that book! We made ours out of thin sheeting you can get at most big box HW stores like Lowes, HD, etc. We have made smaller ones out of milk and water gallon jugs also by cutting the top off with a large enough hole to get the plant through.
     

  3. bunkerbob

    bunkerbob Supporting Member

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    I've been using gal milk jugs for years, cut out the bottom, poke a small hole at the top of the handle for a heavy wire stake, set it over seed, transplants or seedlings. Works great, you can even use the cap to cover at night if need be. You can slide it up and down on the wire to let in more air at the bottom
     

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  4. NaeKid

    NaeKid YourAdministrator, eh?

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    That is recycling at it best!!!

    As for the plastics, you might be able to find what you are looking for from building-supply stores - that is if you don't go with Bob's idea there!
     
  5. GroovyMike

    GroovyMike Well-Known Member

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    Bunkerbob that is a FANTASTIC idea. thanks for the pics.
     
  6. gypsysue

    gypsysue The wanderer

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    Yeah, we (mosquitomountainman and I) have been using milk jugs for years, as well as wall-o-waters. See picture below. The PVC frame is waiting for the plastic sheeting to be put over the frame.

    Also in the picture you see small glass cones, which are actually light covers from a chandelier we found at the dump. They have an opening at the top to let heat out and are great for starting things like squash.

    What we're wanting to make uses plastic/fiberglass that is about 3' in width and makes a much taller cone, therefore can be used longer as the plant grows bigger. Here in Montana it's almost a necessity to be able to extend the growing season.

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  7. gypsysue

    gypsysue The wanderer

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    Well, this is the best substitute I've found for now. It's a heavy vinyl shelf liner from Costco. It's only 18" wide but makes a bigger cone than the glass covers (see picture) or milk jugs.

    We looked at places like Home Depot, and the fiberglass roofing doesn't bend right and their thinnest plexiglass isn't flexible enough.

    These cones made of shelf liner make good overnight covers in our cold climate, but when the sun comes out they soften enough to collapse. I'm used to having to cover things, so it's not a big deal to run out in the evening and pop them over the plants and to go back in the morning and take them off. You can see in the picture below that these are already getting soft in the sun. At night the cold plastic stands up well.

    I'm still hoping to find a stiffer transparent or semi-transparent material that is also flexible enough to make into cones, and around 3' wide (to make a larger cone).
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  8. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

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    The only other thing I could think of would be that heavy duty clear vinyl that I buy to cover my dining room table and chairs to keep the fabric under them clean. It comes in a few different thicknesses and if you had old lampshades that the shade part fell apart or maybe some pvc pipes and connectors you could almost fashion a small low tunnel with it or little mini green houses. It does not hold it self up tho, to flexible. Or maybe it could be used wrapped around three or four sticks or bamboo poles like small teepees.
    Depending on how many you need the price of that stuff is from $2 to $4 depending on how thick it is.
    I get mine at the 5 and dime, or you can get it at any fabric store, it is about 6 foot long and is sold by the linear foot.
     
  9. gypsysue

    gypsysue The wanderer

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    Yeah, with a frame made of sticks or bamboo that would stand up. This vinyl shelf liner I got at Costco is a bit thicker. It stands on it's own as long as the sun isn't hot. The problem is it's only 18" wide and pretty soon my squash will outgrow them.

    My other squash is in a PVC hoop frame (like the one in the background of my picture above, where my tomatoes are) and I cover it with 6-mil plastic sheeting when it starts getting cold at night, which is after the middle of August here.

    I try to plant most of the garden in things that actually grow here without all the extra work, but squash is such a good storage food for winter, along with all the potatoes and carrots and onions, that I always end up putting some in! Same with tomatoes and peppers...they don't really grow here. We work to do it! But I love digging in the dirt and growing things.

    Emerald, you'd make a great neighbor! I've learned a lot from you.

    You wouldn't happen to have turnip recipes, would you? I planted some...now what?:D
     
  10. NaeKid

    NaeKid YourAdministrator, eh?

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    I was just thinking about this. I can purchase tomato-plant wire-frames that will help the plant grow tall. Would you be able to put something like that around the plant and then zip-tie the plastic-sheet to the wire-frame to keep it all in place??
     
  11. gypsysue

    gypsysue The wanderer

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    Yeah, I'm thinking of building something like an upside-down tomato cage out of some welded wire fencing we have on our scrap pile. I could make them pyramid-shaped and set them over the plants, then drop the plastic cones over it. I guess that's what I'll try next!

    It has to have an opening at the top to let excess heat out, yet a small enough hole to keep the heat in on cold nights. The book recommended a hole about 5" across. With the bottom right on the dirt it keeps cold air from rolling along the ground and freezing the plant.
     
  12. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

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    I'd bet that good spring type clothes pins would work to hold the plastic on the wire frames well. I don't know what I would do without my clothespins! I use them to hold the deer/bird netting on everything!:D
    And while turnips are not one of my favorites, I have cooked them and ate them, I would cook them like I do my parsnips, lightly steamed and then fry them in a bit of butter. Or slice them thin and layer them between potatoes and onions with cream sauce on top and baked till tender..
    Or one of my favorites for garden veggies-- grate up one turnip with one potato, and one carrot and some onion and add an egg and about 1/2 cup flour(some times the veggies need to be wrung out a bit or you have to add a bit more flour) and about 1/2 teaspoon baking powder- then fry drops of them like potato latkes (or I just call them veggie pancakes) serve with apple sauce and sour cream or your favorite ranch dressing.
    Great now I am hungry and hardly any veggies yet in the garden..
     
  13. gypsysue

    gypsysue The wanderer

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    Thanks, Emerald, those are great ideas. We grow the turnips for animal feed but they always look so tasty, especially before they get too big and old. I didn't know what to do with them for "people food". I'll try some of your ideas. They grow so good here it would be a nice addition to our larder. Rutabagas do too. Are they useful for anything?
     
  14. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

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    Now I do like rutabagas- they use them in making Pastys it is ground meat with onions and rutabaga chunks and some spices and herbs and then they pack it into a nice thick lard crust(or they use good suet ground into small chunks and added to the crust, It is harder and sturdier than pie crust. The miners in the U.P. here in MI used to take them down in the mines for lunch... they sometimes had a savory side and then a fruit filling on the other.
    Now you can cook rutabagas the same as the turnips, but I like them a bit smaller than the big honking ones that you get in the stores.
    I forgot that you can cook and eat the greens from turnips too, just add some bacon hunks or smoked ham hock.
    I feel bad tho I keep hijacking threads into food!:eek:
     
  15. gypsysue

    gypsysue The wanderer

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    Emerald...thanks again! Wow. If we ever move I want to buy the house down the street from you! Not only do you know how to use the food, you know stories about them! That is just too cool!

    We're fortunate to have you on here.
     
  16. mdprepper

    mdprepper I sold my soul to The_Blob. He had candy...

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    Did someone say PASTYS? I love those things. Great, now I will have to make some this week. Yummy!!
     
  17. gypsysue

    gypsysue The wanderer

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    I clicked on the link, and the bigger ones would work (largest was 14" by 10) but they're pretty pricey. Other than that...they even have ventilation holes so if you turned them upside down and put them over plants (such as young squash plants) it would allow heat to travel out the holes so the plant wouldn't over heat and burn up.

    Thanks, pdx!
     
  18. mdprepper

    mdprepper I sold my soul to The_Blob. He had candy...

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    I had an odd thought. They remind me of the collars you put on animals after surgery. Perhaps you could talk to your vet and see how much they cost him/her wholesale and order them that way?? They come in all types of sizes. Or when my Moms dog needed one the vet told my Mom to take an old Xray film and make her own. So if you have old films around you could try that. (I always have a bunch of them on hand, every time any of us have an xray done I get copies so we don't have to worry about the docs not getting their copy, or waiting for them to find them). Just a thought.
     
  19. gypsysue

    gypsysue The wanderer

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    mdprepper - Another great idea! Thanks!

    I just did some searching around on the 'net and found that they are called "Elizabethan Collars". A further quick search turned up several sites selling them. The one I looked at is $8 apiece, but I might be able to find a wholesaler that'll sell me a large amount for a cheaper per unit price.

    They come in different sizes, up to 24". So yes, they're a good option!