Do you have a poly tunnel? What do you use it to grow?

(9 Posts)
FuriousGeorge Wed 09-Apr-08 18:29:49

I am in the final stages of erecting a 20ft x 40ft polytunnel and am at last at the stage when I can think about what to grow in it & when.

I have loads of tomatoes,peppers,squashe seedlings,ready for the summer & hope to plant carrots,salad,potatoes ect in the autumn & see if I can grow stuff out of season.

If you have a tunnel,what have been your sucsesses & failiures?Do you plant directly into the ground or into growbags or raised beds?I'd be really interested to hear of your experiences & pick your brains.

LilyMunster Wed 09-Apr-08 18:34:03

ooh, id like to hear answers as ive thought about having a polytunnel...

GentleOtter Wed 09-Apr-08 18:40:43

A tunnel that large should be able to take a mixture of plantings - in to the ground, in growbags (do them up the way not flat)or hydroponically.
I crammed mine full and had runner beans climbing up old bedsprings, tumbling tomatoes dangling from the roof in hanging baskets,courgettes growing out of the compost tub,rhubarb in buckets, herbs on a table down the middle, strawberries everywhere.
Loads of water at night and I rigged up a barrel with pyjama cords to use as a giant wick so the thirstiest plants got drip fed all day. I grew lettuce in another barrel of water and floated the plants in polystyrene containers.
The only disaster I had was when the chickens ramraided and stole lots of things but otherwise you can grow anything.

BigBadMouse Wed 09-Apr-08 20:32:29

I am incredibly jealous envy envy! I WANT ONE!!! envy

If you can get hold of a copy of 'Bob Flowerdew's Organic Bible' from your library you'll find a list of things that he grows in his polytunnels (envy) - he has successfully grown some quite exotic things in his as well as the usual crops.

GentleOtter Wed 09-Apr-08 20:37:21

I know someone much further north from here grows ginseng and peaches in his envy

GentleOtter Wed 09-Apr-08 20:40:57

Right then FuriousGeorge. How did you build it ?
My old polytunnel was decimated by the heavy snow that we had but I have managed to get a second hand one that is a whopping 30x100 but I want to split it into two tunnels.
Where do you start ? <gets shovel and bits of string ready>

FuriousGeorge Wed 09-Apr-08 21:37:26

Thanks for the tips GentleOtter.To my shame,we started building mine {me & my dad} in 2003 when I was pregnant with dd1.5 years,one house move & another baby later,we are determined to finih it this year.[shame]

We bought ours 2nd hand too,it was £50.I'd heard a garden centre was selling up & went & sweet talked the owner into selling me an old tunnel.We numbered all the frame as we took it down,then reassembled it on my dads farm.We dug the trenches around it after it was erected {a hell of a job,as it was solid clay,with a lot of hardcore,brambles & general crap on the site}.My dad had to use a digger to dig one side of the trench out.Today we finished the carpentry work on the doors & ventilation hatches & put the anto hot spot tape on.We need to order more tape though,as we ran out.Then it is a case of waiting for a waerm,still day to put the cover on.

I am jealous of your massive tunnel! Do you have a lot of land nearby to put it on?I'd guess that if you want to split it into two,you will need extra door frames/ventilation frames,but apart from that,it should be just as easy as putting up one tunnel.Most of the polytunnel companies such as Northern tunnels & citadel should sell wooden frames if you don't fancy making them yourself.

Let me know how you get on!

GentleOtter Wed 09-Apr-08 22:25:08

Thanks FG! We are on a farm as well and our polytunnel has lain in a heap for agesblush
The elderly lady we bought it from dismantled it herself which was astonishing! She even hauled out the posts which had been concreted in (with masses of concrete)shock
I cannot work out where to put the initial posts but it is 8 feet between each span. I'm thinking the best way is just to have a go and see what happens. DH has a digger, thank goodness, as my old polytunnel was dug out by hand.
What height is your tunnel? I have seen all sorts of stuff grown in other tunnels including a beautiful big grapevine (which offered shade for the other plants) and the little peach tree.
Oh! I'm all excited now! I will keep you posted.grin

FuriousGeorge Thu 10-Apr-08 22:00:41

Hi GO.I'm not sure how tall the tunnel is,but my 6ft dad has to stand on a ladder to reach the centre of the span.

There is a grapevine & peach tree outside the tunnel already,which do quite well outside as it is south facing.I bought some tomatillo seeds the other day,which I'm keen to try.I'll probably put in some bedding plants too,as I'm a gardener by trade & can sell them to my customers.But my real interest is in edible stuff,especially fruit & veg not usually available here.

We have 7 tups in the paddock next to the tunnel,so when it is up & running,I'll have to make sure the electric fence is on,otherwise they'll be in there as soon as my back is turned.

I'm astonished at the little old lady hauling out supports concreted in! As for working out where the posts go-I can't remember how we did it,but we probably guesstimated it by building up the whole arc & marking the spots where it touched the ground on either side.

BigBadMouse-thanks for that tip,I'd forgotten about Bob Floweredew!

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