Green tent

I'm thinking of using some plastic sheeting to form a temporary greenhouse or more precisely a green tent. I've been using steel garden fencing poles as plant stakes. I'm thinking of putting them out earlier this year and using them as tent poles by stretching plastic film over them to form a tent. I'm hoping this might allow me to get an earlier start, maybe April or early May instead of waiting to the end of May. When the weather is reliably warm I'll take the plastic down.
I'm in Massachusetts, near New Hampshire.
I have a couple of questions,
1) Am I fooling myself? Will this really be helpful?
2) What sort of plastic should I use. I see that there are things marketed as greenhouse films. Are they any better than a roll of plastic sheeting from Loews or Home Depot?
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See: <http://westsidegardener.com/howto/hoophouse.html How to Build a PVC Hoophouse for your Garden
<http://www.veseys.com/us/en/?veseys 29cdugg4vc0rc0bqvauiiig3> They are in York, Prince Edward Island (East of New Brunswick and North of Nova Scotia), Canada, for cool weather seeds,

It will help. You will lose about 5% of the sunlight, but if you have a lot of full sun it shouldn't be a problem.
Also, add your amendments to the bed, then cover with news print, and that with alfalfa (lucerne). Lay out drip irrigation, and cover everything with clear plastic. It will raise soil temps by 5 - 6 degrees Fahrenheit.
Tomatoes need soil temps of 70F to grow.

Either will have cheap clear-plastic painters drop cloths. Better yet, check with a local hardware store, and keep your money in the community.
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General Schvantzkoph wrote:

Yes it will help but how bold you can be starting early you will have to work out on site.

Plastic has various degrees of resistance to UV radiation after which it weakens and disintegrates. The stuff that is not very resistant will fail in a few months in the sun, the resistant will last a few years. You pay you money and take your choice. You will need to fasten it in a way that does not tear in a high wind.
Air circulation may become an issue. The tent may get very hot and steamy which will encourage fungal diseases.
David
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On Wed, 09 Mar 2011 08:28:16 +1100, David Hare-Scott wrote:

I'm only planning on keeping the plastic up in the cold months, as soon as it's warm enough to worry about fungal diseases I'm going to take the plastic down.
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And elderly friend of mine has a plastic 'greenhouse' which she uses year round - it's no posh structure, it is just some plastic sheeting pulled over hoops of poly over tomato stakes - she's been using the same structure in the same place for about 5 years at least. She lives in an area which gets morning mists and the summers aren't overly hot but do get into the high 30sC. She just takes the ends of it in late summer until late autumn and replaces them with plastic fruit tree netting to keep the 4 legged pests out.
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wrote:

Google Hoop houses, tunnel houses &/or Google videos: "build a hoop house" and take your pick.
Easy to take 3/8 or 1/2" rebar stakes (or your garden stakes) and some 3/4-1' PVC to make a hoop house. A dollar 2 ninety eight 10' pole @ 24-36" OC will make ~7' at the peak, covered w/ a roll of 5 mil plastic will get you going. Opening flap ends during the day is key. 2x4 or 2x6s on edges to hold down the 5 mil. Consider orienting ends to prevailing winds
As David indicates UV is important but it still "depends" and Contractor grade 5mil plastic will easily last a couple of good seasons, more if you remove and store it when not needed.
The horticulture options to consider: http://www.theonestopplasticsshop.co.uk/visqueen-horticultural-sheeting-c-197.html . Plenty of time to cost price that out in later seasons if you stay with it, but for now the Big Box 5 mil or > clear plastic is OK
Hoops are truly a great assist in getting your garden up and running in early season.
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It'll work just fine. Can't comment on the plastics since I don't even know what the 2 businesses are that you mention.
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A chain of hardware stores that have a lot of floor space and sell, lumber, lighting fixtures, plumbing supplies, power tools, gardening supplies, plants, and so on and so forth. You get the idea.
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