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Thread: Polytunnel Advice

  1. #1

    Polytunnel Advice

    Morning all, I am a keen Gardener and have been happily producing from my veg plot, raised beds and greenhouse for a few years now. I am tinkering with the thought of buying a polytunnel and as such I'd like to hear any opinions, pros / cons, buying advice etc?
    I am wary of buying an el cheapo type that only does a year or two before its past its best, space isn't an issue but it will need to be robust as our farm does cop some gusting winds off the edge of the moor.

    All thoughts on solar control / vent / orientation etc really appreciated!

  2. #2
    We've used a polytunnel for about six years, it has given no problems but would suggest you need a reasonably sheletered spot in case of extreme winds. As always go fo a decent quality product as some of the cheap ones are flimsy with poor plastic. When setting up make sure the plastic is well buried, as already said, in the time we've had ours there have been no problems at all.
    As far as actual use, they do take a lot of watering in summer, ours has a door at both ends and that's as far as the ventilation goes. We raise bedding plants, grow french beans, tomatoes etc, all on raised bed, but certainly some tender plants won't stand the heat of summer. All in all an excellent investment.
    I have no experience of solar control ventilation except as above. I am sure we could do more but time as ever is the enemy!

  3. #3
    We have four raised beds 2.4M x 9M with frames over the top, these are steal tubes hoops and are very strong, they get very hot in the summer and we have now replaced the doors either end with the ability to have a mesh frames to allow air flow. We also installed auto watering in all of them, both at ground lever and at the top. They are used most of the year.

  4. #4
    I bought on 5 years ago which is still up and showing little sign of degradation.
    I got the side vent kit which I put on the lee side of the prevailing wind, it spends most of the year open but closes when the frosts come. I also got double doors which spent a lot of the time open too.
    I oriented N/S, primarily because of space but I also feel it offers a better spread of light through the day and the flying beasties (mainly) exit through the southern door.

    I bought mine from Northern Polytunnels. Not sure what model it was and a quick look at their website makes me think it was the smallest of the commercial rather than the quick-build type.

    Great things. Perfect for drying logs for the stove too
    --
    Rider of an inverted pendulum.
    Bayer to the moon.
    A 1%er that hates rust.


  5. #5
    Brilliant things...keeps us in vegetables all year round.

    We had our first one on an allotment in the late 1980s beside the Windy Ridge estate which indicates the conditions it survived well. We have put another two up in the garden since we moved here. We have bought them from Ferryman tunnels and the plastic has always lasted two or three years beyond the 5 or 6 they advise. Make sure you get the frames with the vertical sides which gives a much more usable space.

    We had double swing doors at each end of the first two...when we extended the second with the third in line I just used the "roll down on battens" door system for the back end. The roll up/down system is awkward to use and I ended up cutting and taping in two mini flaps with mesh covers for easier ventilation. When we re-cover the whole lot I will build double swing doors.

    Ours have always been oriented to suit the surrounding site...light and wind comes from all angles here. But they have all been more North South than East West.

    Starting out from scratch I would use the system with a wood base rails rather than bury the polythene. The advantages, apart from ease when it comes to re-covering, are that you can build in gutters, have mesh walls with roll down wind flaps, and a wooden rail at ground level which allows you to strim along it.

    They do need a lot of irrigation in high summer...if you go away you do need a good neighbour to pop in everyday to open and close doors and give it a drenching. We used a dribble hose system fed by a nominally raised barrel on the allotment...the lack of water head meant that it only worked when the temperature went up and the hose relaxed...luckily for us!

    Alan

  6. #6
    Auto watering of some sort is a must through late spring and summer. These days a good system is cheap as chips, but do budget for it.

  7. #7
    Thanks for all the replies chaps, some really helpful advice!

  8. #8
    I've got a number of polytunnels, some semi pro grade, some hobby grade. I once bought a really cheap 20ft one from Ebay, it was so bad I never even put it up.
    You often see them second hand on Ebay and can get large ones quite cheap. They change how you grow stuff and are well worth the effort. We live at around 1000ft but wind doesen't seem to bother them until you get a hole or split in the plastic. Make sure you don't skimp on the anti-hotspot tape or the plastic will fail before time. We usually get 8 years out of the covers which we get from Northern Polytunnels.

    ATB

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