Cucumber Tunnel – The Revision
Last year the cucumber tunnel that I put up was quick and temporary, but it worked so well that I decided to build a more permanent structure – a cucumber tunnel that will last for years to come.
Last year’s cucumber tunnel was put together with t-posts and hog panels. It was just 1 tunnel approximately 16 feet long but growing the cucumbers on this structure proved to be the best ever. Giving my cucumbers plenty of room to stretch up and over the tunnel offered the best circumstances for their healthy growth. The airflow they received helped keep them from disease. It also allowed ample room for bees to pollinate the plentiful blossoms.
We have been working for the past couple of months on a great deal of construction and expansion where our gardens and greenhouse are concerned. I decided to take this opportunity to move my cucumber beds and build a more permanent structure for my cucumbers. The following is what I did.
Cucumber Tunnel – Step 1
Build the Raised Beds
We first built 3 raised beds that are 2 feet wide by about 32 feet long, with 3-foot wide paths in between. We constructed 2 tunnels going from bed 1 to 2 and bed 2 to 3.
Cucumber Tunnel – Step 2
Frame the Tunnels
The way I decided to handle the construction was to build what I have been calling trusses. Basically, I built wooden arches that we attached at approximately 8-foot intervals. We then ran 2×4 lumber down the outer top edges, much like joists. We placed lumber at the top of the structure, from arch to arch, in the form of ridge beams.
Cucumber Tunnel – Step 3
Apply Roll Fencing
The final step was to cover all of the surface areas with roll fencing that we had. That is the portion that my cucumbers will grow over. I began this process by myself, which was no easy task. The rolls are bulky and heavy. I used an air staple gun to attach the fencing to the wood framing.
I was thrilled when the reinforcements arrived, my 17-year-old that evening and my 14-year-old the next morning. …they clearly had pity on their momma.
Cucumber Tunnel – Step 4
The best thing about the new cucumber tunnel is its strength. It will absolutely be strong enough to hold up the weight of all the cucumbers.
All in all, it was a fairly quick process. I was able to get it planted right away. I planted 4 different types of cucumbers and their companions; chamomile and nasturtium. I also planted loofah, blackeye peas, and celery. I am looking forward to seeing each cucumber tunnel beautifully covered this summer as well as the wonderful harvest that we have coming!
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