Picture of Build a Shelter for Growing Tomatoes
Growing tomatoes needs a lot of sun. In warm and rainy days, diseases can appear (such asEarly Blight). The plants must be protected from the rain, not from the sun.

This instructable shows how to build a robust shelter that resists to wind (and to snow).

Green twist:
- Growing healthy tomatoes in your garden (no transportation),
- protected by a durable shelter (possibly made of recycled pipes),
- avoiding pesticides...
Don't you think it is has much green twist ?
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Step 1: Draw a sketch

Picture of Draw a sketch
The shelter must have a size suited to your garden. It must be tall enough to let you walk comfortably into it.

The sketch will help you determine the size, and define how many pillars are needed.

Our garden consists of terraces in a steep slope. I wanted the roof to extend down to approx 50 cm on the back side to protect from the rear wind. This adds a bit of optional complexity.

Step 2: Needed Materials and Tools

Picture of Needed Materials and Tools
The frame and pillars are made of 1/2" galvanized pipes, using elbows and tees. This makes the whole thing somewhat expensive, but extremely robust and quite fast to build. Pipes may be found for low price at scrap merchants.

Your sketch will tell you how many and how long the pipes are, and how man tees and elbows you will need. Here is a list corresponding to my sketch.

- 9 x tees (female-female-female)
- 4 x 90 degree elbows (male-female)
- 2 x 45 degree elbows (male-female)
- 2 x ground joint union
- 4 x nipple
- 2 x 1m and 3 x 1.2m pipes

- 4 x 2m pipes

- 3 x 1.5m
- Corrugated PVC plastic sheets, as clear as you can get
- M5 screws and bolts

Optional, for back side roof continuation:
- 1 x 1.5m PVC rain gutter
- 3 x 0.5m pipes
- 3 x 90 degree elbows (female-female)

- Pipe threading tool, with 1/2" diehead
- Wrench
- Metal saw
- Drill

- Don't forget to use oil when threading the pipes.
- All pipes, elbows, tees, nipples, ground joint union are of 1/2" galvanized iron.
adamjoe863 years ago
You could also get less disease pressure by spacing your plants farther apart so that less humidity is trapped in the foliage. This will help in particular with the late season diseases (such as early blight and septoria leaf blight). Many of these diseses are spread by more than just rain and strong winds. Leaf surfaces can also be wet from dew and fungal spores can be spread by light breezes.
brissony5 years ago
To be honest, I don't know anything about gardening, that being said, as a method of getting your points across in a clear manner, your uses of green highlights in the construction photos was an great idea and worth the extra effort. Might just build a smaller version - thanks! Yvan from Ottawa
Totally agree with the graphic highlights of details. Lots of close-ups, well explained and plenty pictures. I've thinking in something like this but been unable to place my finger on it. I want this, but with "plastic curtains" instead of walls as to a sort of greenhouse. Even today, last days of April, it's a bit chilly in the mornings here in Toronto. One question: Is PVC able to deal with direct sun/rain exposure without degrading? I know polycarbonate does that and offers a lot of mechanical durability, but it is damn costly. PVC is affordable and clear. Congrats Laxap!
laxap (author)  arirang7775 years ago
(sorry for the late late answer) You are right. I used indeed polycarbonate. I'd say it is 3x or 4x more expensive than PVC, but its way more durable.
laxap (author)  hothmob5 years ago
vhotho, thanks a lot for the nice compliment ! But.. overkill ? we can have strong wind here, sometimes hail, and much snow in the winter. This construction is made to resist them all (it does). The frame can last a lifetime (or two). The plastic... maybe ten years. You sure could use some flexible steel/alu bars and a transparent thin plastic hull or similar. And have to change them each year. So what's greener ? a bigger effort+costs and transportation one time, or may times smaller everything plus repeated burden plus garbage... Really I don't know ! People, what do you think ?
vanadyl5 years ago
Outstanding tomato shelter! Looks like you practically built a greenhouse without the walls. Also looks like a lot of work, but I understand some of us need to have our tomato fix.
abadfart5 years ago
very nice my dad has been looking for something like this.
chalky5 years ago
nice ibble buddy:) there's nothing taste better than a home-grown tomato