Low tunnels are an inexpensive, effective way for gardeners to extend the growing season, keep pests off crops, and improve growing conditions by providing a relatively sheltered environment. Using floating row covers and electrical conduit, gardeners can quickly build their own low tunnels. But that metal electrical conduit needs to be bent into an arc — not an easy task. To help, the University of Maine Cooperative Extension in Waldo County offers a low tunnel pipe-bending program.
To use the pipe bender, growers can call the UMaine Extension Waldo County office at 1-800-287-1426 (in Maine). We have 6-foot-wide and 4-foot-wide pipe benders available, which will be mounted on a secure surface if you want to bring your pipes to bend during office hours. We recommend that growers use 1/2 inch electrical metal conduit purchased in 10-foot lengths for the pipes in low tunnel construction. The UMaine Extension Waldo County office is on Route 137 in Waldo, adjacent to the Waldo County Technical Center.
The low tunnel “pipe bending lending” program idea was hatched at Rural Living Day, which was held in April at Unity College and featured a session on building and using low tunnels.
To learn more about the process, visit http://www.johnnyseeds.com/t-video_quickhoops.aspx or call Rick Kersbergen at the UMaine Extension Waldo County office at 1-800-287-1426.