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In this column, there's text relating to my submission to the United States Patent and Trade Mark Office (USPTO). This New Vineyard / Orchard / Polytunnel Growing System is an invention which was awarded a Patent Pending in the United States by the United States Patent and Trade Mark Office (USPTO) in December, 2022.

The material here is based on the text and drawings I sent to the Patent Agents who have acted on my behalf and the modified text written by one of their Patent Agents. It's only in the section 'Detailed description' that the two show significant differences. For the time being, I omit the 'Detailed description' section, which contains, of course, the detailed information about how the invention is constructed, how it works, how to operate it in its various functions.

I'm completely willing to supply enquirers with much fuller information, including the information in the 'Detailed description' section, as well as helpful information on the drawings not provided here. For example, I can supply the identity of components labelled in the drawings with numbers. I want to be as helpful as I can, if I think that enquirers can understand my circumstances. There's disclosure of the invention now, after filing, but in the United States, my interests are protected by a year by the status of the invention 'Patent Pending.' To protect my interests beyond that point, I have to convert the patent into a non-provisional patent by supplying new documents, which are subjected to the complex process of patent examination and the result depends upon USPTO.

In countries other than the United States, my interests aren't protected. Patent documents are intended to make it possible for a hypothetical person with skill in the particular art to construct the device or system. Even so, realistically, constructing a device or system successfully so that it works in an optimal way, often needs supplementary information. I'm in a position to supply the information but it's reasonable to expect something in return, in countries where the system isn't protected by patent law - all countries except for the United States.


Invention title
Background of the invention
Summary of the invention
The drawings
Detailed description (not provided here)

Invention title

Integrated dual layer structure and structure-group system  with modifiable components and configurations for growing, protected cropping, protected working, materials handling, water collecting and water conservation for use in vineyards and orchards and as a polytunnel substitute for growing tomatoes and a range of other crops.

Background of the invention

In vineyards, protected cropping is usually conspicuous by its absence, although there are sometimes inconsequential interventions, such as draping some horticultural fleece over some of the rows or parts of rows.

The overwhelmingly common trellising systems for grape vines make use of wires supported by posts, tension being maintained by various methods. These wires have the function of supporting the grape vines and positioning the vines for the essential tasks of a vineyard, including pruning and harvesting of the grapes. The wires making up the trellising system are almost exclusively for support of the grape vines, even if they do have some subsidiary uses: the draping of horticultural fleece, the support of irrigation pipes, the support of pipes conveying water to the vines not for irrigation but, by freezing of the water, for attempted prevention of frost damage.

Effective protected cropping is impossible in the established - almost universal - systems of vine trellising, as well as in marginal systems of vine trellising.

Established systems are many and varied and sometimes have distinct advantages and disadvantages. For example, there are 'single curtain' trellis systems and 'double curtain' trellis systems, such as the Geneva Double Curtain, which manages a dense canopy by dividing it in two, so that more sunlight can reach the renewal zone. However, this system can be more costly to establish than other systems and needs careful maintenance.

Whatever benefits and disadvantages a particular trellising system may have, all, without exception, have the disadvantage that they fail to provide protection for grape vines, except for marginal benefits in some cases, and fail to provide adequate protection for workers who tend the vines.

Again, and again, the effects of frost damage in grape-growing regions are documented. The buds on the vines are sometimes entirely destroyed by Spring frosts, so that there is no crop at all that year, sometimes the damage is partial, of different degrees of severity.  Very severe damage to buds may occur at this time in areas which generally have a mild climate, such as the Bordeaux area of France, or vineyards in California.

The methods which are employed in an attempt to combat frost damage all have marked disadvantages. For example, the use of water which freezes has not only the disadvantage of being expensive to install but the disadvantage of using large volumes of water, very problematic at a time when problems of water supply have become acute. Another method of (supposed) prevention relies upon open fires or very large candles, an inefficient form of heating in the open air and again,  expensive to implement.

The best, most realistic form of protection would be to make us of the plastic sheets which are used in polytunnel protection, but in existing trellising systems satisfactory support of these sheet materials is not possible.

Plastic sheets are the best, most realistic form of protection against frost and some problems other than frost, such as impairment of the quality of grape vines by excessive water at harvesting time.

They would also be the best, most realistic form of protection for vineyard workers, who are expected to prune in the cold of winter and to harvest grapes in downpours of rain in the autumn - or to delay their work until conditions become more favourable.

Work at the height of summer would be more pleasant, grape vines would have a lower risk of damage from excessive solar heating if it were possible to install solar netting easily, but again, existing systems make this all but impossible.

However, the lack of provision for installation of sheet materials, in particular plastic sheeting but also solar netting, does at least preserve the aesthetic appeal of vineyards, for most of the people who work there, visit or have an interest in the subject. Unlike polytunnels, vineyards generally enhance the appearance of the countryside.

 Provision for material handling is lacking in existing vineyard trellising systems. Workers are often expected to carry very heavy loads, leading to muscular and other problems. In industry, sophisticated techniques of bulk handling make the avoidance of these and other dangers far less likely.

The advantages and disadvantages already outlined for vineyards apply, mutatis mutandis, to apple orchards. Many commercial orchards are made up of individual trees which are quite widely separated from each other. The trees may be in rows or may be in a scattered configuration. It is possible to protect individual trees with horticultural fleece but not realistic to protect most of the trees in this way.

Another method of apple production relies upon wires similar to the trellises of vineyard production. Here, the trees are small and trained to grow on the wires.

The advantages and disadvantages of this orchard system are the advantages  and disadvantages of any of the vineyard trellising systems in use, although in some cases, the possibility of frost damage can be largely discounted: the buds of apples grown for cider production generally appear after the risk of frost is over. However, whatever the kind of apple, there is the disadvantage of potentially harvesting the apples in very adverse weather conditions, even with early maturing apples. Cider apples are likely to be harvested at a time when the risk of adverse weather is much greater. Whether the apples are cider apples, dessert apples or cooking apples, the established systems used in orchards, like the systems used in vineyards, often do little or nothing to alleviate the physical demands of the work. The supposition that they cannot be alleviated or that they are necessary is quite common.

One advantage of the orchard trellising systems shared with the vine growing systems is the aesthetic advantage. This form of apple growing, like the one which relies upon more widely separated apple trees not grown on trellises, is generally agreed to enhance the appearance of a locality, not to detract from it.

Polytunnels are used on an enormous scale for the commercial growing of crops - strawberries, lettuces, raspberries, tomatoes and many others. This form of protected cropping has many advantages.

One obvious advantage is that the increase in internal temperature by the greenhouse effect can effectively protect crops against frost damage in very many conditions if not all. The shelter provided by polytunnels can protect crops against moisture-related fungal diseases, such as botrytis, downy mildew and blackspot, reducing the need to spray with fungicides. It is claimed that the enclosed environment of the polytunnel increases the effectiveness of any pesticides used and reduces the risk of spray drifting away from the targeted crop and causing non-intended damage to plants other than the targeted crop.

Polytunnels offer substantial benefits to agricultural workers, who are able to carry out pruning, harvesting and other essential work whilst  being protected from very cold and windy weather.

In the 'table top' system, often used in the growing of strawberries, the growing medium (eg coir) is in gutters or other containers at a convenient height, often of the order of 1.1 metre. This method can only be realistically used in systems of protected cropping.

Polytunnels do have substantial disadvantages, however, including these:

Extreme weather conditions have become more and more common. These include temperatures which are in excess, often greatly in excess, of the optimal temperatures for growing (typically of the order of 26 - 30 Celsius, although different crops have different requirements.) When the environmental temperature reaches 35 Celsius, 40 Celsius or even higher, then the temperature inside a poytunnel will be considerably higher. More often than not, polytunnels have inadequate provision for ventilation which would mitigate these conditions, which can lead to substantially impaired growth or even the death of plants. Installing protective shading is very often far from easy.

The frame of polytunnels and the method of attachment of the plastic insulating material have great strength in well-designed polytunnels but the strength may well be insufficient to prevent damage from strong winds and accumulation of snow: polytunnels tend to have weaknesses in shedding snow.

The plants in a polytunnel have to be irrigated to survive. These irrigation methods are expensive to implement. It is possible to collect water from the roofs of polytunnels and to use the collected water to irrigate the plants, but arrays of polytunnels are not well adapted to collect and conserve the water which falls on them. Furthermore, the plants growing in polytunels are unable to make use of the benefits of natural precipitation.

It is generally recognized that polytunnels have few - or no - aesthetic merits. People in communities which have large commercial polytunnel complexes nearby often resent the fact. Proposed development of polytunnel growing near to a community is often strongly opposed.

The covers of polytunnels can be and often are removed outside the growing season but the design of polytunnels makes removal and installation of the plastic covers an arduous and time-consuming task.

Summary of the Invention

The Integrated Growing Structure is intended to bring very substantial benefits in the growing of
vineyard crops: grapes; orchard crops: apples and pears; many crops commonly grown in polytunnels: low growing crops, eg strawberries, lettuces and some taller crops, eg summer-fruiting and autumn- fruiting raspberries, tomatoes; crops which can be harvested at different heights, eg Oriental vegetables such as Komatsuna. Not all the crops grown in polytunnels are suitable for growing in this structure, owing to Its dimensions, in particular its width.

The invention can offer a very high level of functionality in the matter of water collection and conservation, a matter of immense importance in a world where many, many regions face water shortages during prolonged periods during the year, very often amounting to severe drought conditions. When arrays of these new growing structures are in place, the surface area available for water collection will be very substantial. Arrays of these new growing structures offer substantial opportunities to collect and conserve water, lessening dependence upon mains water and supplying water  in places where mains water is unavailable.

In essentials, the new trellising system takes the form of two structures in the shape of (isosceles) triangular prisms, the inner and outer layers. The outer layer provides support for sheet materials (principally plastic sheeting, but also including solar protection sheeting for very hot conditions and netting for protection of crops against pests, particularly birds.) It also comprises equipment for bringing the sheet material into position when the sheet material is needed from a storage / dispensing  drum, and the means to return the sheet material to the drum when the sheet material is not needed or it would be inadvisable to leave it in position, as when very severe winds are forecast.

With the essential addition of a drum for storage and a mechanical means of moving the sheet into position and the replacement of the curtain rail by a very strong wire running the length of a row, this is a system with similarities to the domestic curtain-on-a-curtain rail system.

There are two faces of sheet material in the sheet layer, making up the two sides of the triangular prism. Both expanses of sheet material are suspended from the upper sheet wire, the topmost of the three wires at or near the apex of the structure. The base of the sheet material of the two faces are  secured to the lower sheet wires, which are very near to ground level. The distance between upper and lower sheet wires will be sufficient for introducing a degree of tension to the sheet material, preventing it from flapping in the wind, but is not the only method of introducing tension.

The objective of multi-functionality has been followed wherever possible and desirable. So, plastic sheet material in this system has the function of insulation, making frost damage less likely and increasing the growth rate of the crop, but is also important as a water collecting surface. The water collected from this sloping roof surface is diverted to gutters at ground level and from there to suitable storage containers, by gravity if the containers are below ground level, otherwise by pumping.

When the sheet materials are retracted, then aesthetic objectives are achieved - the unfortunate appearance of plastic materials is present no longer than necessary, or not so long as to give rise to strong objections.  There are also important practical benefits. In established protected cropping systems, the crops can generally not be watered by natural precipitation. In this new growing structure, this is perfectly possible.

 The sheet layer has components which make provision for minimizing the effect of wind. The structure can withstand winds of moderate force or somewhat greater but retracting the sheet will protect the integrity of the sheet and the integrity of the structure before damage by destructive winds.

The growing layer inside the sheet layer has the function of supporting the wires which are used for training the crop, if the plants are quite tall (vines, apple and pear trees, tomatoes, raspberries) and supporting the crop load. The upper growing trellis support wire is a main wire, above head height, running the entire length of a row, from which are suspended sloping support wires intersected by three horizontal support wires which may or may not run the full length of a row. A row may be interrupted by shelters or openings, which have multi-functionality: they provide ventilation and the means to enter a row or leave a row, perhaps to go from one row to another, without having to go to the end of  a row, which is a necessity in established systems of trellising. They can also be used as temporary storage places for the crops harvested within the row.

The growing layer is also the site of material handling. An overhead conveyor wire runs the full length of a row, again, above head height, and can support containers suspended from it. These containers can be moved by hand or, more often, by a winch, the winch wire connected to one container or, more often a container-group.

The detailed description provided refers to the growing of single rows of crops, the single row structure but also gives information about multi-row structures, formed by combining two or more rows at a single site. Particular configurations of rows can have substantial advantages in certain circumstances.

The components which make up the structure, eg wires with various functions, fixings, sheet materials, belong to one or more structure-groups.

These are the structure-groups:

(1) The core structure-group. These groups are of two kinds: growing units, which will form the great majority of units, and non-growing units.

Growing units

These are made up of two layers. Each of these layers takes the form of a long isosceles triangular prism, with the same length but different widths and heights.

(1a) The inner layer is the growing and material handling layer. At the apex of the inner layer is the trellis support wire, which supports horizontal and sloping vertical wires - these in turn support the crop, eg climbing grape vines, apples - grown as espalier crops, not as widely spaced bushes or trees - tomatoes. In the detailed description section, some alternative uses of the horizontal and vertical wires are explained in connection with the use of the system as a polytunnel substitute. The inner layer also comprises the overhead conveyor wire for transfer of materials along the layer to a collection area or from a distribution area to a particular place in  the growing area. The materials include, eg, harvested grapes / apples / tomatoes as well as prunings from vineyard / orchard activities, biomass which can be used for heating.

(1b) The outer layer, the sheet and sheet support layer.  At the apex is the upper sheet support wire and very near to ground level is the lower sheet support wire. These wires support sheet materials with various functions, eg, when polythene or other suitable sheeting is put in place, raising the internal temperature of the growing volume to  protect crops from frost, to increase the growth rates of plants or to enable a wider range of crops to be grown (such as grape varieties which without protection could not be grown in a cool climate). Other advantages to be gained by the use of this  sheeting: enhancing the well-being of workers, collecting water for the purposes of  water conservation. The water collected can be used for irrigation of the crops, decreasing reliance upon mains water. (When the sheet material is removed,  the crop is watered by natural precipitation.) Netting material can be used to protect the crops inside the structure from pests.

Non-growing units

These have various possible functions. One is provision of shelter for employees of the operation and visitors to the operation. Shelter is provided in the growing areas which make up most of the rows, but shelter in non-growing areas is convenient and useful. Space is limited in these units - they have the same height and width as the growing units - but more spacious facilities for the same purposes can be provided outside the rows.

 Non-growing units also provide a means for going from one side of a row to the other without the need to go to the end of a row. The facility can be used by people on foot as well as by mechanized transport, provided the transport is small enough to use the facility.

(2) Tensioning connectors. Some of the wires which run the length of the core structure group (the trellis support wire, the upper and lower sheet wires) do not themselves extend  beyond the triangular prism structure in one variant of the design but are connected to ratchet straps, which extend from the triangular prism structure to the ratchet mechanisms, the means of exerting tensioning forces on the wires to which they are connected.

(3) Anchorage structures. The ratchet mechanisms are connected to anchorage structures, strong, heavy structures capable of withstanding any forces imposed upon them indirectly by the wires indirectly linked with them. The anchorage structures may have one function, withstanding the applied forces, or may be multi-functional, combining this function with others - eg storage, places for the work of the operation, supports for climbing plants with aesthetic benefits. Small buildings with a variety of functions, eg storage of harvested produce, plant propagation facilities,  large water storage containers, gabions.

(4) Spools for storage of sheet materials, which are dispensed when needed and taken back into the spool when not needed.

    PHD-C  Paul Hurt Design-Construction:  New Vineyard/Orchard/Polytunnel
  Growing System awarded United States Patent Pending




Images, including diagrams and photographs, with explanations

All the non-photographic images here (except for two of the images showing a 'Non-growing unit') and all the diagrams, with a very few additional diagrams not shown here, were included in the submission to the United States Patent and Trade Mark Office. The line drawings formed the most important part of the submission. None of the photographs were submitted. As I explain in the column to the left, some information is omitted here, including the detailed keys to drawings and detailed explanations. I do include in this column introductory material to explain the working of the New Growing System (NGS).

Above, two growing units (GU), triangular in cross-section and with the overall form of triangular prisms. To the left, one face of an anchorage structure, which will most often have at least one other function. The anchorage structure above consists of Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBC), used for storing water collected by the water-collecting system, none of the components shown here. At either end of the line of IBC, two spools for storage of sheet material, in this case polythene. Wires and ratchet straps connecting growing units with anchorage structure not shown.

The GU have two 'states'  as well as an intermediate state.The state shown above is the uncovered state. This corresponds with natural growing conditions, not the state of protected cropping. There are advantages and disadvantages of the uncovered state. The aim is to solve many (or sometimes all)  the problems of the uncovered state, completely or partially, so far as possible, by transforming the uncovered state to the covered state - and, also, to solve many (or sometimes all) of the problems of the covered state by reverting to the uncovered state.

The advantages of the uncovered state include the ability to water the crops with natural precipitation and pleasant working conditions during fine weather.  The disadvantages include vulnerability to adverse weather conditions, including excessive precipitation such as torrential rain and frosts which kill buds. For workers, uncomfortable working conditions during adverse weather - pruning vines or apple trees during subzero temperatures - or the need to suspend work in these conditions.

The image above shows the two rows of this particular implementation of the NGS in an intermediate state. Here, sheet material, in this case polythene sheet, is being dispensed from two spools at the ends of the rows, to the left of the rows in this impage. The two spools can be regarded as the same spools shown in storage in the first image, now in their operating position. The two vertical spools stand on low rotating turntables, often called 'Lazy Susans.' The sheet material can be moved into position by pulling it with a simple winch but often, human muscle action will be sufficient.

The wires which hold the sheet material in place and the components which induce tension in the sheet material to resist wind forces are shown in  a drawing below.

The anchorage structure is shown as green to represent foliage, which can be used to cover or partly cover the anchorage structure. Foliage can include, for example, the foliage of the ornamental vine Vitis vinifera Brandt (which also produces edible grapes.)

Above, the covered state. In all states, the structure has two layers, inner and outer. The inner layer is the trellis layer, consisting of the wires which support the crop (when the system is used as a polytunnel substitute, these wires will often be unused, unless the crop is one which needs support, eg tomatoe plants. The outer layer is the sheet layer, consisting of the wires which support the sheet materials, in the process of being dispensed or after being dispensed, in position.

Polythene sheeting is not the only sheeting which can be dispensed when needed. Another example: protective netting, eg netting which forms a barrier against insect pests.

Above, a non-growing unit (NGU) with growing units on either side. These two units will typically be part of a complete row, made up of growing units and one or more non-growing units. NGU have many functions, including ventilation and access. The system allows very great flexibility. For example, the NGU can be spaced to allow optimum ventilation.

It can be anticipated that rows in this system will often be very long. The NGU allow a means of entering the row or leaving the row or moving from one side of the row to the other without the need to go to the entrances / exits at the ends of rows. Vehicles as well as people can make use of this facility. Here, a small tractor is shown.

There are many other possible uses for NGU, for example, to provide facilities for visitors to the site. To carry out 'solar composting.'  For this use, there would be an interruption in the free passage of people and materials from one side to another. I've carried out experiments on solar composting - that is, speeding up the rate of compost production from compostable materials by the 'greenhouse effect.' Plastic sheeting installed on a non-growing unit will lead to this heating and accelerated rate of compost production by the greenhouse effect. The compostable materials can come from the site or from further afield. By the same process, woody waste from the vineyard or orchard operation can be dried more quickly so that it can be used for burning / heating onsite. 

Non-growing units will be the same height as growing units but can vary markedly in length, just as the total length or rows can vary enormously. Very long non-growing units can be used to dry woody waste material. Much shorter units will suffice for ventilation, but a suitable length can be determined by various means.

NGU may be open (as in the previous example) or closed, as in this example. Here, the material is opaque, which may be desirable for some applications. The small circular objects down the sides of the material are neodymium magnets, strong permanent magnets which can be used for keeping sheet material in place. Most usually, the sloping supports at the sides will be ferrous metal and the magnets will adhere to these. Alternatively, the material may be  light-transmitting to a greater or lesser extent. Semi-opaque materials can be used.

The Figures. These are numbered according to the order of drawing. Drawings showing aspects of the same structure or process, eg a non-growing unit, water-collecting, may not be adjoining. The explanation here is not at all detailed, but I do identify  a number of the labelled parts.  As mentioned in the column to the left, I can make available much fuller information.

14. An anchorage structure, eg a small (or larger building), Intermediate Bulk Containers, stacked in two or three rows, Gabion containers -  wire containers filled with stone or other material.
1. Upper sheet wire, for support and tesioning.
10 and 12. Lower sheet wires, for support and tensioning.
And, also, a plurality of trellis wires for support of crops.

Below, diagrams, with explanation, to show tensioning of sheet materials by means of elastic shock cord loops attached to sheet wires.

Diagram above At the left side of the sheet layer, loops of different sizes which assist in tensioning the sheet material. Below, explanation, with diagrams.

Above, overhead conveyor system.
15. Load, supported from overhead conveyor wire, being moved by winch wire. The winch can be a light and hand-operated model. The load can be harvested apples, grapes and other loads. The system can dramatically reduce the intensity of manual work as well as the injuries caused by carrying heavy loads.

Above, side view showing part of water-collecting system. Water runs down the sheet material, one which is impermeable to water and is collected in the gutters, 8.

Above, simple diagram showing the main wiring system for a  non-growing unit between two growing unitsp

Above, diagram to show an alternative to the use of sheet materials to cover an entrance / exit of a non-growing unit. Curved polycarbonate sheet is bent into the semi-circular or half-elliptical shape shown above. This provides shelter as well as relatively unrestricted access.

Above, rows can be placed in a very wide range of configurations - and can vary very, very widely in length. Here, 4 rows are arranged around a central anchor structure, 3. The orientation of rows will often be determined by priorities and will often be a compromise. If West-East orientation is very important - for reasons to do with the direction of solar radiation or for reasons to do with ventilation, such as prevailing winds from the West - then rows of units along a West-East axis may well be chosen, with or without interconnections. Suitably spaced 'vertical' rows between the 'horizontal' rows may well be beneficial. This system has enormous scope and a very large number of possibilities.

Above, another configuration. Here, twin rows, shown as lines, are placed in a pentagonal arrangement. The main entrance is at the lower side in the diagram. The circle at the centre represents a  structure which may be a building, not necessarily circular, of course, or a decorative pool or reservoir, storing water collected from the structure, or a group of trees growing there before the addition of the New Growing System rows, perhaps apple trees, with trained apple trees secured to the trellis rows. These are only some of the possibilities. The smaller circles are anchor structures. The small rectangles with rounded corners show the position of Non-growing Units, allowing passage through the rows, perhaps to reach the central area.

And another configuration, so simple as not to need a diagram - rows placed like lines of text in this column, a few rows or many rows, not always with the same distance between the rows. Just as spacing between rows of text can be adjusted, distances between rows of NGS crops can be adjusted. Just as distances between elements within a row of text can be adjusted, distances between plants within a row can obviously be adjusted.

Above. Water be collected from the water-collecting surfaces formed by impervious sheet material and directed to gutters. Water can also be collected by  inter-row surfaces, 1, directing water to the same gutters.

Above, diagram showing one implementation of a sloping boundary of a non-growing unit.

Above, Non-growing units at the ends of rows will necessarily be very different from non-growing units within a row. This is one possible example, belonging to a previous design, part of the triangular greenhouse I constructed. These non-growing  need not be the same height as the adjoining growing units. Here, the triangular apex of the greenhouse is visible and and a curved polycarbonate extension, open at the sides, which allows entry to the structure and exit from the structure.

Above, this curved polycarbonate sheet - the degree of curvature is fairly small in this example -  gives a structural element which could be used for one side of a Non Growing Unit.

I carried out prototyping and experimental work in connection with the invention, first to test practicality and then to refine the design and use of the invention, with very encouraging results. Only a little visual information shown here, with only the most limited explanation, for the time being.

Above, work on construction and arrangement of boundaries of non-growing units, here using a double row of intersecting holed bars. The holed bars by the wall are for a different purpose. Above, polycarbonate sheeting, one possible way of implementing simple shelter for a NGU. The surface lower down is the surface of a workbench of my design.

Above, two sections of oak board hiding the mechanism between the two sections, a rotating turntable. A roll of sheet material can be placed on the upper section of oak board. These components shown on another workbench of my design and next to an extended threaded rod which fits inside the roll of scaffold sheet, the sheet material I used for some of my experimental work on the New Growing System.

Above, looking into the structure shown in the photograph above, towards the rotating turntable, still not visible here.

Above, the roll of scaffolding sheet, with extended threaded rod at its centre, now placed vertically on the turntable and free to rotate. In the NGS, the sheet material can then be dispensed and held in place on the sheet layer.

Above, apples grown (not by me) as an espalier, by a method very different from the one described on this page.



























The NGS includes a variety of structures for growing climbing plants such as grape vines. The support for the grape vines differs substantially from the supports of all other trellising systems. NGS structures can also be used for growing some orchard crops, such as apples, using supports very similar to the supports for growing grape vines, with similarities to the espalier system. Traditional orchards, with apple trees quite widely separated, cannot make use of NGS. The system can also be used as a polytunnel substititute, for taller crops such as tomatoes and a wide variety of low growing crops.