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Polytunnel or Greenhouse
Wed 13-Jul-16
12:02 pm
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bonniet

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I am having a bit of a dilemma - which, if you can only have one (for the near future at least) would you choose?

I want to be able to grow all of the usual summer stuff - toms, cucumbers, peppers, the odd melon. I also expect I will be raising a lot from seed (the polytunnel I have my eye on has a work bench option).

I am veering towards a polytunnel at the moment, only because they are much cheaper and I like the idea of being able to grow early broad beans/pots/courgettes and to extend the growing season a bit longer.

However, I am not convinced polytunnels get warm enough to germinate seedlings - or (even though this is a well ventilated one) the humidity would cause them all to dampen off.

Decisions decisions - would be very glad for any input!

"A pretty face is fine, but what a farmer needs is a woman who can carry a pig under each arm"

Building the dream while chained to the desk...my blog The Part Time Smallholder

Wed 13-Jul-16
3:15 pm
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Ambersparkle

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Wed 22-Dec-10
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I have a large Greenhouse, Polycarbonate, but Danuta, who used to post on here, loved her Polytunnel, and Iris also has one.  I could not have one, as I live at the top of a Hill, and keeping the Greenhouse in one piece in a Scottish Winter, is a bit Hairy, never mind a Polytunnel.

Wed 13-Jul-16
4:57 pm
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irist
Cornwall UK

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Mon 23-May-11
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Our polytunnel used to be 60 ft long but after a careless lorry driver damaged one end it's now shorter!  You will find that a greenhouse holds heat more evenly than a polytunnel.  Temperatures are more extreme in the tunnel.  For really early seedlings we have a cheap 4 tier mini greenhouse inside the tunnel which we zip up at night.  You also need to factor in that the polythene cover needs replacing after a few years.  There are various grades, some of which have better UV tolerance.  We have to dig the polythene out of a trench each time we recover the hoops so once the current one has run it's course we will not replace it.  You also need a very still day and lots of help to cover the hoops.  Good ventilation (as with a greenhouse) is very important.  Take note of the prevailing wind in your area and position your greenhouse/tunnel accordingly.  One of our first tunnels took off in a gale - not something we would wish to repeat. eeek  Hope that helps.

Thu 14-Jul-16
11:26 am
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bonniet

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Thanks Irist, that is very helpful, I hadn't thought of a greenhouse inside a tunnel. Digging a trench sounds hideous, but the model we have our eye on has a wooden base that the polythene is tacked to instead. - you pay more, but I think it is probably a good investment!

One question about positioning, our prevailing wind is northerly, but I had read the tunnel should be positioned north/south to make the most of the sun. This would also mean the prevailing wind blows through it. I guess this is good for ventilation, but does this make it a no-no from a blowing-away-in-a-gale way?

"A pretty face is fine, but what a farmer needs is a woman who can carry a pig under each arm"

Building the dream while chained to the desk...my blog The Part Time Smallholder

Thu 14-Jul-16
5:12 pm
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irist
Cornwall UK

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Hi Bonnie. One of the tunnels we had was positioned N - S and that's the one that blew away!  It depends on how exposed your site is.  We are on the spine of Cornwall and are susceptible to gales/high winds from both coasts.  Our prevailing wind is normally from the SW. Once a high wind gets inside a tunnel it will find any weakness.  On this particular occasion the wind ripped the doors open and there was nothing we could do.  I guess in landlocked Wiltshire you will be less vulnerable.  Good luck!

Thu 14-Jul-16
5:34 pm
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bonniet

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We are not too bad here, and there are some mature trees around I suppose, to bear the brunt. We don't really get extremes of weather at all here, which is nice in summer but we never get snow in winter!

"A pretty face is fine, but what a farmer needs is a woman who can carry a pig under each arm"

Building the dream while chained to the desk...my blog The Part Time Smallholder

Thu 14-Jul-16
6:43 pm
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Ambersparkle

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Send you some of ours, and a few Blizzards, if you like !    Am right on the Coast, we get the North Sea Winds.

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