Most likely you’ve started planning your upcoming garden along with the projects that go along with it. Over the last few years we have seen a ton of great EMT Conduit gardening projects in the community. Today we’re going to look at all sorts of builds that you can use to maximize your garden. We’re also going to look at some creative garden hacks and benefits for using EMT Conduit in the garden along the way.
If you don’t already know, EMT Conduit is a commonly available steel galvanized pipe that you can find in the electrical aisle of your local hardware or home improvement store. It is an often underrated building material but it has a lot of great benefits in the garden.
You’ve probably heard or had first hand experience with rotting wood in the garden. This is because untreated wood has to be used for trellising and things. Chemically treated wood will contaminate your plants and cause them to be unsafe to eat.
If you are looking for a wood alternative for building in your garden, EMT Conduit is a great solution. As I mentioned, it’s readily available nationwide and is fairly inexpensive. It is made of steel and has a galvanized coating that prevents it from rusting when outdoors. We’ve seen a lot of projects that have been outdoors for years with no rust at all.
I was curious about galvanization and did a little research to see if it would contaminate soil. Kevin from Epic Gardening has agreat article about this that I will link below, but the quick answer is yes, it is totally safe. In fact, some gardeners use galvanized steel as their material of choice for raised garden beds.
With that peace of mind we can get into the fun stuff. What can you build in the garden with EMT Conduit? We make conduit connectors in our South Carolina shop. You can use them to connect conduit in all sorts of variations and build in your garden. They clamp together which means they can be reused or moved if you need to make changes to your garden build down the road.
Conduit is really easy to cut with this hand tool and our connectors can be assembled with a single 5mm hex wrench. Building with conduit is really easy and since you don’t need power tools you can build right in the garden.
We’re going to look at some trellises, hydroponic frames, greenhouses, enclosures and more builds from the community starting with trellises. Most commonly, garden beds are made from wood but you can also make them with conduit like this one from Rita. Once you have your raised bed in place, you’ll probably want to add a trellis to it. Trellises are used to give climbing plants like tomatoes and cucumbers a place to grab onto.
You can build trellises with EMT Conduit easily. Because it’s so easy to cut, you can customize the dimensions to fit really any size garden bed that you have.Here is asimple trellis built by Daniel. As you can see, he has a couple of smaller raised beds and he made a conduit trellis that only uses 6 connectors in the design. We’ve also seen some larger trellis systems like this one fromDonald.
Conduit allows you to get really creative and maximize your space efficiently. Cherry has a walkway between two garden beds and built thistrellis system as an archway over the walkway.
Joseph did something really similar in his gardenas you can see here. They have similar concepts but are built differently because the garden beds are different shapes and sizes. There are a lot of other creative trellis builds in the community and you can see them in the gardening specific topic here.
No matter what shape or size your garden is, you can make a trellis for it. When adding a trellis to your beds, you’ll run across a couple of problems that need to be solved. One is how do you secure trellises in the garden. This problem is really easy to solve.
If you have a raised bed made from conduit, you can simply build off it to add a trellis. If your raised bed is made from wood then you can pick up some one hole or two hole straps. These are inexpensive and allow you to mount conduit to flat surfaces or vice versa with some wood screws.
You can also make a freestanding trellis with conduit. These metal stakes are readily available at local home improvement stores. Simply hammer these into the ground and then add conduit over top of them. From there you can build your trellis frame with connectors. Towards the end of the video we will talk about how to plan out your builds so stick around for that.
Once you build the framework, you’ll most likely want to add some netting to it. You can get rolls of trellis netting or make your own with other off the shelf materials.There are quite a few solutions that work really well to secure netting to conduit. You can sort of weave the netting around the conduit and pull it tight. You can also use some velcro straps or zip ties which are really simple and effective solutions.
Now you’ve got a trellis built and secured, but of course the critters are going to come by and take advantage of this unprotected buffet you just built for them.Another great gardening project with EMT Conduit is an enclosure to protect your plants.
Just like with a trellis, you can customize the dimensions exactly how you want them. With enclosures you’re basically building a rectangle or cube around your garden and enclosing the frame with various types of materials. The size and type of enclosure material depends on where you live and the animals that you want to keep out.
You can get chicken wire with really small holes that work great to keep out birds and other small animals. If you need something a little more rigid to protect your garden from deer and larger animals then I would recommend hardware cloth or thick gauge metal chicken wire. Attaching the chicken wire or cattle panels can be done just like trellis netting. Zip ties are hard to beat when it comes to cost and ease of use. Another great option is bendable metal wire.
Also similar to a trellis you can secure an enclosure to a raised bed or make it freestanding with the methods we talked about earlier. We’ve also seen some builders make enclosure frames with wood and route out a hole for the conduit to rest inside.
Most likely you’ll want a gate for easy access to your garden. To incorporate a gate into your enclosure you need a hinge. We’ve added a hinge connector that works well for making a gate. We also did a roundup of eight different DIY hinges from the community that you can make with ordinary materials. Here is a link to the video and blog roundup. They show exactly how you can make each of the eight hinges.
Obviously sunlight is a crucial part of gardening but it can also have negative effects if you live in a place that gets extremely hot.You can easily add a sunshade to your garden with conduit. You can make a frame around the area that you want to provide some shade too. Just like the other builds, you can mount the sunshade frame with electrical straps or stake conduit in the ground for a freestanding frame.
Once you have a frame in place, you can get the sunshade material and secure it. You can do this in various ways. We’ve seen everything from zip ties to retractable sunshades made with carabiners. We rounded up quite a few methods for securing sunshade and canopy material to conduit frames. You find that video here.
You can also use the sun and heat to your advantage with a greenhouse. We’ve seen portable greenhouses and smaller greenhouses around garden beds. We’ve also seen some great cold frames and full size greenhouses like this one built by Ben.
You can customize it exactly how you want it to fit your needs and space. To mount greenhouse plastic to conduit frames, you can get these plastic clips that snap around conduit and secure the plastic in place. Those work really well, but you can also make your own with small pieces of PVC pipes.
Hydroponic and aquaponic gardening are two other popular techniques and conduit makes a great framework material for them. You can make sturdy stands to hold trays and PVC plumbing. We’ve seen some great examples in the community like this one from Bill. As you can see the frame is built in a way that the trays can rest on the pipes and the grow lights and PVC pipes are secured with metal straps or zip ties.
If you need help getting started with hydroponics and building a setup, I highly recommend On The Grow. They did a full 40 minute tutorial on everything from building the frame to getting the hydroponic system up and running and it is super informative.
EMT Conduit is a great material for all sorts of gardening projects, and you’re probably thinking, that’s great, but how do I plan out a build for my garden.I would start by getting inspiration from the community. You can use the search function to find ideas for trellises, enclosures, and all sorts of builds.
Once you get some ideas, you can pick up some mini connectors and start figuring out designs for your builds. These are exact replicas of the full size connectors if you can model a project then you can build it.
Remember Joseph’s archway trellis from earlier? He modeled it out first with Minis and figured out what connectors he needed for the full build. We’ve also seen enclosures, greenhouses, and other builds that were modeled first and then turned into full size projects. Sketching on paper and 3d modeling software are also great ways to plan a project if you have the skill set.
As always we are here to help with your projects whether it’s in the garden, garage, or house so be sure to subscribe and reach out to us with any questions or ideas you have. Thanks for watching and we will see you in the next one!