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View Full Version : Attention Veg growers - Polytunnel advice



mumof4
31st January 2008, 20:29
HELP!!!!!!!!

Anyone out there got a polytunnel in the garden or on an allotment -
I'm about to buy a new 12 foot by 15 foot one from First Tunnels and need some advice.

Mamzie
31st January 2008, 20:46
What do you want to know...?

We've had 2. Have a stunning 20 by 14 one now. My birthday pressie for last year.

Mamzie
31st January 2008, 20:51
My new one has lovely 3'6" stright sides, and it so great. My old one was rounded right down to the ground, so I grew short at the sides, and tall in the middle.

Watering is always hard work as you can grow a huge amount extra in an unheated tunnel, but ventalion is hard in an hot summer.

Shop around, theres lots of tunnels around now. Your plastic may last between 3-6 years. Framework forever. Use hotspot tape before putting the cover on.

Get the bigest one you can fit in, you'll soon use it all

tiger
31st January 2008, 20:58
Don't take your poly cover down to the ground in one piece. Build a sturdy rail about 2ft off the ground, fixed to the tubes, and fix the polythene to that. Not only does it make recovering easier, but it means that you could use shade netting from there to the bottom and fixed in place. Then on the inside you could put polythene which is fixed to the bar and can be rolled up to provide more ventilation in hot weather.

I hope you understand what I mean. If not I'll get DH to help me explain it better.

mumof4
31st January 2008, 21:19
My new one has lovely 3'6" stright sides, and it so great. My old one was rounded right down to the ground, so I grew short at the sides, and tall in the middle.

Watering is always hard work as you can grow a huge amount extra in an unheated tunnel, but ventalion is hard in an hot summer.

Shop around, theres lots of tunnels around now. Your plastic may last between 3-6 years. Framework forever. Use hotspot tape before putting the cover on.

Get the bigest one you can fit in, you'll soon use it all

The one i think I narrowed it down it is this -
12' x 15' with 3'3" straight sides (would have liked higher sides but think first tunnels offer better allround service.
extra's Crop bars, ventilated ridge kit,anchor plate kit, timber base rail kit, and staging supports along one side and supply of hot spot tape, two doors one at each end with the front being extra wide.

I wanted the timber base rail as the thought of digging a trench seemed like too much work. Not sure if i need the ventilated ridge kit but it's ment to kick in when it gets to hot would like advice on this.

I'm thought that 12 x 15 would be really big but when i here everyone else saying they have bigger ones I'm getting worried but I do have the rest of the allotment to grow stuff outside. Not sure if I could afford to get anything bigger unless I discover I don't need some of the extras.

mumof4
31st January 2008, 21:33
Oh and the layout I was thinking I would have 90cm beds along each side with another bed in the middle but starting about 5/6 foot in from the front all the down the middle of the tunnel - thinking about the children need to leave a small area for them to drive cars drawing etc so i thought leaving a small area clear at the front would provide this.

Wish i could afford to create something like this - about halfway down page.
http://www.hiddenglen.co.uk/garden.htm

Mamzie
31st January 2008, 22:15
I wish dh had done the sides like that in our tunnel Tiger. Seemed like a good idea to me.

I plant way too much in pots. That garden was beautiful in the link.

Grace & Favour
31st January 2008, 22:17
I've got a cold frame made from the 15" square window from our outside loo . . . .

I have managed to grow three lettuce (Little Gem) and 16 radish in it one year.

Question . . how many of my neighbours toilets will I need to vandalise in order to grow 40 Kilo's of Desiree, and three rows of Runner beans please?

(I feel humbled with all these folkses that have tunnels!!!!)

Mamzie
31st January 2008, 22:21
I'm really lucky and have a greenhouse as well all at my Uncles house. DH gets an allotment with his shed in another place.

If we ever win the lottery we'd buy the field opposite so it could be altogether.

mumof4
1st February 2008, 09:08
Do any of you have problems with cats climbing accross the cover and making holes in it??

Thanks for all advice so far - it's a big help

tiger
1st February 2008, 10:01
Our cats sometimes climb on ours but they don't seem to make any holes.
Our garden is on a hillside and I think they get on it from the higher level behind. In a level garden I think it may not be a problem.
You can get repair tape for it if needed. It is expensive but obviously cheaper than having to recover it. We used to have a nursery and are still using the tape we had from there, but I am sure that your tunnel supplier or a garden centre would be able to supply you. If you do notice any small tears in it then don't ignore them. One of our tunnels got vandalised during a break in and we repaired it but didn't notice one cut and in a strong wind the cover got ripped further and lifted off.

I forgot to mention - you were asking about size of tunnel. We found out that the larger the tunnel, the easier it was to ventilate them, so if you only have room for a small one, anything you can do to help ventilate it is worth doing.

mumof4
1st February 2008, 11:20
I forgot to mention - you were asking about size of tunnel. We found out that the larger the tunnel, the easier it was to ventilate them, so if you only have room for a small one, anything you can do to help ventilate it is worth doing.

I'm going to measure the section of my plot that I want to use just to see if i could fit a 12x20 and then I'll have to think about the cost. It's so easy to get carried away with the idea of growing all year round and being able to work when other can't because it raining etc.

tiger
1st February 2008, 11:32
I'm going to measure the section of my plot that I want to use just to see if i could fit a 12x20 and then I'll have to think about the cost. It's so easy to get carried away with the idea of growing all year round and being able to work when other can't because it raining etc.


I have to admit that ours don't get used as much as they could be but they were something we used for the business so were freebies once we sold the business. We used to start bedding plants off at home and then move them down to the nursery.
You really need to consider the cost when starting from scratch though.

Another thing that I have found useful is some mesh screens that someone gave us. They had an outdoor run for their dog and it didn't work out. The doors at either end are useful as extra doors on the greenhouse so we can ventilate it but it stops animals from getting in. It might be worth constructing some from timber and covering them with some sort of net if you have pets.
Our cats have sometimes scratched up seed trays if they have got in there.
It keeps other peoples pets out too. We've sometimes had stray dogs in the garden and I wouldn't like to think of the damage they might do if they chased a cat in there.

Making your doors as wide as you can is a good idea. Apart from being able to get a wheelbarrow in if necessary, it's more space for ventilation. Put a door in each end, or at least put vents in so you can get an airflow through.

mumof4
1st February 2008, 14:05
Another thing that I have found useful is some mesh screens that someone gave us. They had an outdoor run for their dog and it didn't work out. The doors at either end are useful as extra doors on the greenhouse so we can ventilate it but it stops animals from getting in. It might be worth constructing some from timber and covering them with some sort of net if you have pets.
Our cats have sometimes scratched up seed trays if they have got in there.
It keeps other peoples pets out too. We've sometimes had stray dogs in the garden and I wouldn't like to think of the damage they might do if they chased a cat in there.

Making your doors as wide as you can is a good idea. Apart from being able to get a wheelbarrow in if necessary, it's more space for ventilation. Put a door in each end, or at least put vents in so you can get an airflow through.


Actually it comes with two doors one at each end covered with net and with poly blind but I will opt for a wider door at the front worth it for 7.

The space at the top of my plot has room for a 20 foot long poly so now i have to really think about which size to order.

THanks so much for your help - have you had a lot os success growing stuff in yours, have few people have them it's hard to find out what it's like. Any books that you can suggest.

Mamzie
1st February 2008, 14:18
Its very similair to cold greenhouse growing I found.

I grow loads of tomatoes, peppers, salad stuff in mine. And its brill at the start for moving my transplants, my baskets, and bedding stuff for school, nursery, and few others places around me, into.

tiger
1st February 2008, 14:28
Actually it comes with two doors one at each end covered with net and with poly blind but I will opt for a wider door at the front worth it for 7.

The space at the top of my plot has room for a 20 foot long poly so now i have to really think about which size to order.

THanks so much for your help - have you had a lot os success growing stuff in yours, have few people have them it's hard to find out what it's like. Any books that you can suggest.

Those doors sound good. DH made ours to save a bit of money, but he is a builder.
I really haven't been making the best use of mine, but maybe we can all inspire each other to get started.
They were erected originally to start off bedding plants and have been great for that. I also grow tomatoes, but I found last summer wasn't very good for them.
I need to learn more about growing other crops in there.
According to this website you can grow anything in them.

firsttunnels (http://www.firsttunnels.co.uk/faqs.asp)

I know they are in the business of selling tunnels but they have pictures of various veg growing in them.

I read somewhere that onions do very well in polytunnels.

Lol. I just noticed that it's first tunnels that you are getting yours from.

mumof4
1st February 2008, 14:49
. I also grow tomatoes, but I found last summer wasn't very good for them.
I need to learn more about growing other crops in there.
According to this website you can grow anything in them.

firsttunnels (http://www.firsttunnels.co.uk/faqs.asp)

I know they are in the business of selling tunnels but they have pictures of various veg growing in them.

I read somewhere that onions do very well in polytunnels.

Lol. I just noticed that it's first tunnels that you are getting yours from.

I don't think many people had much joy with poatoes or tomatoes last year.

First tunnels do seem to be very good. I've bben viewing everthing online but today the brochure arrived - with a voucher for a free copy of ' The polytunnel compainon' and a teabag, so i can sit down with a cup of tea to read it. I've also read the articals from the link at the top of the home page. They are really good I just wish it arrive today be built tomorrow and stuff groing by Saturday LOL - sold my CC vouchers on ebay so feels even more of a treat when I know tesco paid for it.

Mamzie
1st February 2008, 15:00
I had a good lot of tomotoes, but lost my squash and cucs halfway through the season.

Hey Tiger and Mum, I have some free butternut squash seed packs here if you would like a pack each, and some bright lights thingy.

Pearls
1st February 2008, 15:09
OOH - the PTS gardening thread - sign me up!

Gizmos
1st February 2008, 15:14
advert for polytunnels now appearing at top - guess the bots are working

tiger
1st February 2008, 15:15
I would love some please, Mamzie.

I was wondering about maybe we could swap veg seeds. With a lot of varieties there are too many seeds for one person.
I ordered the bedding plants from Suttons Seeds last year from the Express and they didn't have all the plants available so sent me a lot of seeds and a few of them were veg. They're still in date, although when they're foil packs they keep past it anyway.

mumof4
1st February 2008, 15:17
I had a good lot of tomotoes, but lost my squash and cucs halfway through the season.

Hey Tiger and Mum, I have some free butternut squash seed packs here if you would like a pack each, and some bright lights thingy.


OOH - the PTS gardening thread - sign me up!


Pearls what a great idea, and Mamzie I would love some, i haven't got my seeds yet but I'd be hapoy to swop I'm going to buy a cherry tomatoe I've just seen in a mag, hundred and thousands with report of 2000 fruits from one hanging basket, if I can find it anywhere I'm sure they said suttons, I'll be happy to swop.

Pearls
1st February 2008, 15:23
How do I get a picture from "My Pictures" onto here - I was going to show you my new veg garden!

mumof4
1st February 2008, 15:24
Pearls what a great idea, and Mamzie I would love some, i haven't got my seeds yet but I'd be hapoy to swop I'm going to buy a cherry tomatoe I've just seen in a mag, hundred and thousands with report of 2000 fruits from one hanging basket, if I can find it anywhere I'm sure they said suttons, I'll be happy to swop.

Oh drat - they are plug plants from dobies I was dreaming of baskets of fruit hanging from the crop bars of a very filled and colourful Poly -:(

mumof4
1st February 2008, 15:26
How do I get a picture from "My Pictures" onto here - I was going to show you my new veg garden!

Please do - not sure how you do it but I'm sure I saw a thread about it

6lilpigs
1st February 2008, 15:46
I'd definately be interested in a gardening thread. The more experienced gardens out there can tell us newbies what we should be doing each week and what to be planting where.

So a few questions for the new thread
1) I have space for a polytunnel. Do you recommend I get one and where from?

2) I have heard of people growing potatoes in bags of stood up compost. Is this a good idea and if so how do I do it, what else can be grown this way and what do I need to be careful of ie do they dry out easier or make sure I have drainage holes in the bags incase of too much rain

3) What veg can be grown in hanging basketsor big garden pots, please telll me the advantages/disadvantages of this type of growing.

And for any of you newbies or experts out there I bought a load of veg seeds off ebay 25 varieties for just over 3. I thought this was a good starter batch, what do you think? Same auction as below. (am I to post link, sorry mods if not)

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/25-VARIETIES-OF-VEGETABLE-SEEDS_W0QQitemZ270207764626QQihZ017QQcategoryZ1512 QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

tiger
1st February 2008, 16:06
Posting links for ebay auctions is fine 6lilpigs. I am sure a lot of people will be interested in that one. It's a very good price.

You can grow some varieties of tomatoes in hanging baskets. We used to grow one called Tumbler, but the seed is a bit expensive. I am sure that there are now other varieties which would do well. Look for a variety that doesn't need pinching out and if it tends to cascade, even better. You can grow herbs in baskets as well. I used to put a rosemary or coloured sage in the centre, then put spreading herbs like oregano or thyme around the edge. There are lots of varieties of herbs that are ornamental as well as edible. Parsley is OK in there as well. As well as looking pretty, it's lovely to be able to have them close to the house to pick and to smell them when the sun is on them.
Don't put anything vigorous like mint in there though. There are some ornamental mints but they would be better in a tub.

mumof4
1st February 2008, 16:48
I'd definately be interested in a gardening thread.
2) I have heard of people growing potatoes in bags of stood up compost. Is this a good idea and if so how do I do it, what else can be grown this way and what do I need to be careful of ie do they dry out easier or make sure I have drainage holes in the bags incase of too much rain

3) What veg can be grown in hanging basketsor big garden pots, please telll me the advantages/disadvantages of this type of growing.



I started out by growing veg in pot's. You can more or less grow anything in container. Two tyres on top of each other filled with compost and 6 runner bean plants on a patio was a big success as was potatoes grown in tyres and rubbles sacks or and mail bags but don't tell RM, cut and come again salad leaves and herbs in window boxes and i used the plastic milk containers from tesco as pots. Hanging baskets - herbs and tomatoes

mumof4
1st February 2008, 18:33
well i'm going to do it - buy the 12 x 20 It's 650 buy I'm buying it was money from CC vouvchers sold on ebay i will have to top it up with my money but only about 100 -150It will mean waiting until April as it's got to come out of my bank account as some of the money has to come from next quarters cc vouchers so i have to make sure I've saved enough to cover the cost.

Who so we have to ask to see if we can have a gardening section on here, we could include gardening bargins like when lidl have there fruit bushes etc and swop seeds.

sunny
1st February 2008, 19:47
You can grow some varieties of tomatoes in hanging baskets. We used to grow one called Tumbler, but the seed is a bit expensive.

Wyevale garden centre has veg seeds at half price at the moment. So just over 1 pound for Suttons hanging basket tomatoes. Was very tempted! Am heading back there this weekend....

Mamzie
1st February 2008, 19:52
Have a look at the seeds in Lidls as well, they have great little packs for just 29p. I also buy a load of bedding and veg seeds from Wilkinsons every Autumn as they go 75% off then. DT browns is my fav seed company, very reasonable prices for the amount you get.

Pm me your ady Mum, and I'll pop them in the post to you. I got 4 packs of each from a car boot last year, as they were orginally a free gift on a mag.

mumof4
1st February 2008, 20:27
Wyevale garden centre has veg seeds at half price at the moment. So just over 1 pound for Suttons hanging basket tomatoes. Was very tempted! Am heading back there this weekend....


Have a look at the seeds in Lidls as well, they have great little packs for just 29p. I also buy a load of bedding and veg seeds from Wilkinsons every Autumn as they go 75% off then. DT browns is my fav seed company, very reasonable prices for the amount you get.

Pm me your ady Mum, and I'll pop them in the post to you. I got 4 packs of each from a car boot last year, as they were orginally a free gift on a mag.


Thanks my local gc is wyevale so i'll make avisit in the morning. I'm also going to flick through the gardening mag that was in tesco with the offer of the 'hundreds & thousands' basket tomatoe and I'll post the offer code on here in the morning and make a trip to lidl.

Woolworths had all their seeds and onion sets on BOGOF and fruit canes reduced. :focus:

Mamzie
1st February 2008, 20:30
ohhh, I will def have a lookie in Woolie when I get chance. Have some vouchers for there still so it would be free.

6lilpigs
2nd February 2008, 15:37
DRAT, I,ve just come in from a morning in the town and I was in Woolies. I'll have to pop back in the week when I dont have the whole entourage with me. I think a poly tunnel may well be a bit out of my budget at the minute, I'm going to look on that gardening site and see if they pos have one for about 150.

tiger
2nd February 2008, 17:43
Before we ever had a greenhouse of any sort, DH made a frame and covered it in polythene and we grew beautiful lettuce in there. It was just a simple rectangle but was higher at one end than the other to allow some of the rainwater to drain off. I think ours was about 3ft x 5ft with a couple of cross pieces to hold the polythene up, but it depends what you have. There are lots of things you can do to protect crops and bring them on earlier. If you can get some 5 litre containers, that things like washing up liquid are sometimes sold in, cut the bottom off, leaving the end with the cap. Leave the cap on and you have a mini greenhouse to pop over the top of plants. Remove the cap for ventilation occasionally. 2 or 3 litre pop bottles can be used in the same way.

mumof4
2nd February 2008, 19:19
DRAT, I,ve just come in from a morning in the town and I was in Woolies. I'll have to pop back in the week when I dont have the whole entourage with me. I think a poly tunnel may well be a bit out of my budget at the minute, I'm going to look on that gardening site and see if they pos have one for about 150.

This is a special treat for me - just me - i've saved for our fist free tesco holiday and my husbands booked a mens only weekend away and before the points collecting thing stops I thought I would sell some cc vouchers on ebay. So far I have half of the cost covered and will be selling next quarters vouchers.

I made large cloches for my veg, made three and then moved them round my raised beds as needed (all beds being same size) worked a treat.

mumof4
2nd February 2008, 19:43
Wyevale garden centre has veg seeds at half price at the moment. So just over 1 pound for Suttons hanging basket tomatoes. Was very tempted! Am heading back there this weekend....


Thanks for letting me know about their sale - Got loads of peas, suger snap peas, beetroot, carrots, purple sprouting broccoli for summer harvest and i'm going to go back - it's on until the 12th of Feb. Really hope i find some T&M sale as i want some of their seeds from Italy collection.

Can anyone suggest a melon as I've got no idea what to get I have the idea of trying to train it up and over the crop bars. Want to try and make use of the height space.

Mamzie
2nd February 2008, 19:47
I've only ever got 3" melons to grow myself, but tend to go for a gaia? or honeydew type melon. They are my project every year.

Sungold and sweet 100 or million are my fav cherry tomato, along with various yellow ones which are soooo yummy. I also grown lot of the romano long type or the little heart shaped ones of peppers.

mumof4
2nd February 2008, 19:53
I've only ever got 3" melons to grow myself, but tend to go for a gaia? or honeydew type melon. They are my project every year.

Sungold and sweet 100 or million are my fav cherry tomato, along with various yellow ones which are soooo yummy. I also grown lot of the romano long type or the little heart shaped ones of peppers.

I was thinking of getting the 100 & millions but it only seems to be sold as a plant not seed - do they crop as much as they suggest.

Do you make much use of the roof space in the poly, I'm assuming as beans grow ok outside you don't bother with them?

Mamzie
2nd February 2008, 20:09
Not enough.

I tend to hang my baskets from them early, then my tomoatoes nearly touch the roof in the summer.

I get seed for the Toms, as I grow virtually everything from seed myself. However Sweet 100/ Million are a F1 so you can't save the seed yourself. Theres seed in a few catalogues and even on Amazon from Suttons...

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tomato-Sweet-Million-Seeds-Pkt/dp/B000NB7414

Beans are on the allotment with dh, after I start them off.