7 Ft. trays (troughs)... how to.

I have been getting requests from customers about this tray. I have a picture of it somewhere else in my site, now, everyone wants to have it. This is a new version of tray, I used to make 2 trays from one sheet of Coroplast, now I make 3 trays. Photos may look a bit different from the end product.

First of all, these trays are made...by you and they are manufactured out of a plastic sheet called Coroplast. It is the same product the bins and tubs the post office uses are made out of. Coroplast comes in a variety of colors and thicknesses. It is hollow. They call this fluted plastic. It is very light and strong, however it is not too hard to work with it once you learn a few tricks.The standard thickness is 4 mm (1/8") and the standard color is white, which is also cheaper.

To find out who sells this material locally, contact the Coroplast people in Canada on their web site, Coroplast.com. I have found at least 4 dealers in my area and prices vary from $8 per sheet to $15 per sheet. Sheets are the standard 4X8 ft.

To build these trays, the first thing you want to do is to ask your dealer to cut it for you. It is very hard to work with an 8 ft long sheet of plastic and keep your lines straight. You can get 3 trays out of one sheet, so you ask him to cut the sheets in 16 inch wide pieces. Each tray will then be made out of a 16" by 8 ft. Coroplast.


Each tray is 7" wide. If you have one of those tools that have a little wheel at the end and is used in reparing window screens, it is the perfect tool to score the coroplast. In lieu of that, you can fashion a plastic tool with a rounded end ( I have used the back end of a pen and it works). The idea is to make two scoring lines along the entire length of the 8 ft. sheet without cutting thought the plastic. Each scoring line is 4.5" parallel to the edges, and 7" apart.

Once you have done this, you can easily and carefully bend the tray to make it look like the final product without the ends.

Working the ends

Rather that explaining all this, please follow the photo included here.

Cut the plastic with a utility knife. It goes very easy if you are working with the grain, but you need to press hard if cutting perpendicular to it. Finish the tray by bending the large flap first and the small ones over the large one. Drill 2 small holes and install a tie wrap to hold the tray together.

. If you want the tray to be waterproof, just put a drop of gook (Home depot, paint department, purple tube $3.95) in each corner. Now you need to have some support so the tray does not loose shape when you load it with your bags. I use aluminum wire that I purchase from a welding shop. (About $8 per pound) It is called aluminum rod, and it is used to weld aluminum but I use it to hold my trays together. I cut it in 16.5" pieces. bend the wire so that it wraps around your tray 4.5"'X7"X4.5". The very end of this wire is bent inwards so it fits under the tray and holds it together.

This tray cannot go on the ground, unless it is paved and level. I use 3 thin cinder blocks under each tray. My garden is built on fine stone, I position the blocks in straight line and I have 5 trays in each row. The most tedious job is to level the blocks in groups of 3s so the trays are perfectly level in all directions. Once this is done, just put your trays on top of them. If you want to be able to drain your trays,, drill a .5" hole on one corner (will take the place of one bag) and be sure you are consistent, all holes on the same side. You will need to patch up the hole when you water the trays, so, get some .5 inch CPVC pipe and cut it in short lengths, about a foot each and paint one end some fluorescent color so you can see when the pipes are in place. Now you need irrigation.

I have 10 rows (5 trays in each). I need to have 10 lengths of tape. The tape I use is made by Roberts, it comes in a 1640 ft. roll and it has emitters every 4 inches, just perfect for my needs. It is about .5" around when under pressure. Tape needs to be replaced every once in a while when it gets clogged up or it develops a hole. No big deal, the roll will go a long way.

Water gets to my garden via a garden hose. There I go into 3/4" PVC. Get gray if you can find, it prevents algae from forming inside the pipe. Run a length of pipe along one end of the rows and put Tees every place where you have a row. You can also put a valve at each one of these points to prevent water from going into a row whenever you wish to do so. Tape adapters can be purchased from your AG supplier. Now you need to marry that adapter to the pipe or the valve. Here is where you can run into trouble if you are not careful. There are two sets of threads, pipe and hose. You can go either way but be sure to buy all your hardware before you build anything, that way you will not have any surprises. Just remember, hose will not fit pipe and vice versa.

You will also need a pressure regulator or you will burst your tape.

Don't forget to buy ends for the tape, These ends close the free ends of the tape.

Final inside dimensions of this tray are 80.5" long by 6.25" wide by 4.5" high. When you place in the garden be sure it is level .

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