To help gardeners improve their chances of success this season, University of Maine Cooperative Extension in Waldo County is offering a low tunnel pipe-bending program. Low tunnels are an inexpensive way for farmers and gardeners to improve growing conditions for crops in a modified protected environment. Using plastic or spun-bound fabrics (floating row covers) and pipe supports made from half-inch electrical metal conduit, growers can quickly build a low tunnel in their garden. These tunnels can help provide improved growing conditions, help to keep pests off crops and extend the garden season by providing a small amount of frost protection.

The low tunnel “pipe bending lending” program idea was initiated by Waldo County Extension Association and was actively used in 2010 and 2011.

To learn more about growing and using high tunnels visit johnnyseeds.com/p-7708-quick-hoops-bender-4-diam.aspx and to see a demonstration video, visit: http://www.johnnyseeds.com/t-video_quickhoops.aspx

To use the pipe bender, growers can call the office at 1-800-287-1426. The pipe bender program has both a six-foot wide tunnel pipe bender and a four-foot wide tunnel pipe bender for use. The benders need to be mounted — picnic tables work well — to a secure surface. It is suggested growers use half-inch electrical metal conduit purchased in 10-foot lengths for the pipes in low tunnel construction. The benders will be mounted on a secure surface at Waldo County Extension office for those that wish to bring pipes to bend during office hours. The University of Maine Extension Office for Waldo County is located at 922 Waterville Road, Waldo, adjacent to Waldo County Technical Center. Call the office in advance for more assistance, if needed.

For more information about low tunnels, watch the video referenced above, or call Rick Kersbergen at the Extension office at 1-800-287-1426.