Another year into giant pumpkin growing and another year into providing shade for the pumpkin. The idea behind providing shade to the pumpkin is to help stop the sun from drying out the skin too much preventing growth of the fruit.
In the previous years I have used a large umbrella, a small cover structure and a white sheet.
This year I am trying another method, which is making a hoop type house out of pipe and a tarp. This compared to the other methods can be the more expensive way to go. Luckily for me I was able to get most of the items for free this year.
Here is a video explaining what I did and below that is a more detailed write up of how everything went together.
- Plastic pipe (I used 25mm size)
- Tarp (1.73m x 2.25m is the size I used this time)
- Cable ties (make sure you get long enough ones)
- Steel reinforcing bar (12mm)
- Sledge hammer
First put the bars into the ground
First off I started with some 12mm reinforcing bar which was cut into four equal lengths, this was driven into the ground on an angle with a sledge hammer and over the area needing covering.
Curve the first two pipes
The pipe I managed to get was 25mm in size and was already cut into lengths, I slide one end over the reinforcing bar bent it over checking the curve was OK for what I needed and then inserting it over the other piece of reinforcing bar effectively locking it in.
Add the cross pipes
For the pipe going across the bent portions I drilled a hole in the end of each one and used a cable tie to attach it, this was repeated on the other end. In the end I put 3 across.
Attach the tarp to the frame
The tarp was laid out over the top and cable tied to the frame. With the one sides bottom edge done loosely allowing it to be lifted to get access to the pumpkin/plant.
This by far has been the sturdiest structure I have built over the years, but unless you can reuse things to build it, it can be an expensive structure to make. I was lucky as the only thing I needed to buy was the cable ties.
In the future I will make it a bigger structure just by using longer pipes allowing easier access and to cover a bigger area.
The other thing you could do is use “T” sections to attach the pipes going across making a nice neat connection; it would mean you would have to cut the bent ones going over into segments. This isn’t a major issue, and does allow for easier storage as each piece would be shorter. Doing it that way would allow for you to easily dismantle and reassemble for other seasons.
One thing I did do back to front was making the frame and placing the rods into the ground without checking it with the tarp I had, next year I will build the frame to the exact size of the tarp.
So there we have it, the shade frame/structure that I am using this year.