Growing In A Polytunnel

Thinking of growing in a polytunnel ?

Polytunnels are the kind of thing that can create revulsion or joy, depending on your temperament ! The fact is however that growing in a polytunnel  can be a very cost effective way to grow vegetables and fruit, that would not otherwise thrive in a climate such as we have in the UK.

Tomatoes for instance cannot be grown out side successfully as we just do not have enough sunshine, and days where the weather is predictable for more than a few hours ! The option to grow tomatoes in a polytunnel there-fore is good advice in my own situation.

Greenhouses can be very expensive, and if you plan to grow on a larger scale then growing in polytunnels is really your only option. Indeed many of the farmers around my area in Scotland use polytunnels to great advantage, enabling them to bring a crop to the market that much earlier and cheaper.

However the sight of acres of farming land being taken over by polythene tunnels does not fill everyone’s heart with joy, as this article explains.

Some people love them because they can extend their growing season or grow things they could never do in the open. However, some hate them because they might look like an unsightly plastic blot on a natural landscape.

growing in a polytunnel
If you are considering growing in a polytunnel, look out for wind damage

One of the disadvantages of growing in polytunnels, is the fact that they are very susceptible to wind damage, as the picture points out quite well I think ! However even greenhouses get broken panes of glass that have to be replaced at great cost sometimes.

It stands to reason though that if you are going to grow in a polytunnel, then it is better if you are in a situation that is not to exposed to the wind, and the elements in general.

The author of this article had a not unfamiliar experience with the wind, when growing in a polytunnel.

Eventually, my tunnel was destroyed by 5 weeks of constant high wind speeds so make sure you either have wind breaks or better take the plastic down during the winter.

The advice given to take down the plastic in winter may seem sound, however the fact is that it can be a very difficult job as the plastic is buried in the ground around the polytunnel structure.

This is what gives it stability in the first place, so to remove the cover over the winter and fit it agian in the Spring would just not be feasible!

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Best Selling author of several no-dig gardening books, James has over 40 years of gardening knowledge and experience to share with like-minded gardening enthusiasts.

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