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Discussion Starter #1
I'm getting ready to make some vertical frames from electrical conduit (ala Square Foot Gardening), and I am wondering about strength.

My conduit will be coming in 10' lengths, and my raised beds are about 2' high, and 4'x12'. I intend to put the frames along the long edge of the beds.

To avoid cutting the conduit, I would like to use 1 stick for each side, burying the end 1-2' in the ground, having 7-8' of height, and then bending the last 1' over to start the top crossbar. If I do this on each side, I could connect the sides with a 10' stick and have the whole contraption be just over 12' long.

My question is, do you think it will be too weak having the two connections along the top crossbar? Would it be worth the hassle to have the sticks cut, so that I am either having 1 connecting at the center of the 12' span, or should I also use a center support, and a T connector at that 1 connection in the middle of the 12' span?

If I should cut the conduit, how do I do that? It is EMT 1/2" thin-walled electrical conduit.

THANKS!!

Tracey Mouse
 

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Hello, hello....is there anybody in there.....?
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I'd use connectors, and not try bending it. If you want it to be stable, you'll also need side to side connections
It can be easily cut with a hacksaw or a tubing cutter
I'd also consider coating the part that will be in the ground with something like Kool Seal roof coating, or it will rust away quickly. Youll need to either coat the inside or completely seal the ends also

You could also do the same thing with PVC and not worry about it ever rusting You might need more supports that way, but PVC is very easy to work with
I'm assuming you intend to cover these with plastic. If you make the top flat, it will be a rain trap, and will cause BIG problems
 

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Just howling at the moon
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1/2" conduit. I'd have a vertical support at least every 4'. Vines growing up not only weigh alot but also the side force from any wind. Better safe than sorry and trying to rebuild with all the vines on it.

Connectors are easy to work with and go togethor quickly. A simple hacksaw will cut the conduit.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I got the 1/2" thin walled conduit. I don't know if they're steel or aluminum, but they were cheap ($1.97 per 10' stick) and they don't seem terribly strong. We decided to avoid bending, and will cut the pipes at the proper height (8' from the ground, 6-7' above soil level in raised beds) and have elbows at the top corners. These are only going along one long side of my raised beds, to hang netting on for vertical crops to climb up.

The beds are each 12' long, and instead of trying to dig holes and bury the ends in the ground, we got brackets and used those to attach the poles to the sides of my raised beds. I was going to put 3 vertical poles per raised bed (12' span) but thinking it over, I might put 4, so that we're only spanning 4' sections, not 6'.

I intially bought the slip fittings that they pointed me to at the supply store, but when I checked out, the fittings were nearly DOUBLE the cost of the stinking pipes (for 6 elbows and 3 t-connectors)!! So, back those went, and I got PVC connectors - price of steel $58, price of PVC $1 and change! Even if I have to replace the PVC every year, it's worth it!!

We've got the outside poles on each bed, and my son was genius and got a sheet of plywood and cut out what he called "reinforcing backer boards" - rectangular pieces of 1/2" plywood that he screwed onto the side boards of the raised beds (about 6" x 12" - spanning both top and bottom side boards) with lots of screws, then he screwed the brackets (3 per pole) into the plywood. He said it would help distribute the weight better, and he was worried because the raised bed boards were kind of old and weathered. They seem to be holding GREAT, so I think it was an awesome idea!

I'll post pictures later tonight. (It's hot and we all took a little siesta nap before we go back out to work some more.)

Tracey Mouse
 
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