Updated: Nov 18, 2020
What is a Polytunnel
Polytunnel (also known as a hoophouse, polyhouse, hoop greenhouse, or grow tunnel) is generally made from steel and is covered polythene, poly for short (heavy plastic)
They are usually semi-circular and elongated in shape, however square polytunnels do exist
The polytunnel is heated by incoming rays from the sun
The interior heats up due to the fact that the sun is warming the soil, plants, and anything else in the polytunnel faster than the heat can escape
Heat is retained by the objects in the structure and by the walls
The poly cover traps the heat inside resulting in an increase in temperature
The poly that is used is specific to the job
It is manufactured to resist UV rays and can have a thermal, anti fog (anti condensation) cover to prevents moisture dripping down
Double layer polytunnels use a blower fan to inflate the area between the layers
This keeps the poly tight, and creates an installation barrier
Temperature and humidity inside a polytunnel can be controlled by equipment such as fans inside the structure or by opening and closing doors, vents, windows, (whichever your structure may have)
Some polytunnels feature roll up sides
Polytunnels are much cheaper to build than greenhouses and they sure much of the same purpose, protecting plants from the elements
They provide crop protection from: animals, wind, rain, heat, cold, sunlight
Polytunnels create a micro-environment that provides higher humidity and temperatures, allowing the growth of many fruits and vegetables even when they are not necessarily in season
Unlike a greenhouse they can easily be taken down and moved to a different location
"Polytunnel gardening extends the growing season because it warms earlier in spring and stays warmer longer in the fall"
Why use a Polytunnel
Polytunnel can be used to produce a wide range of plants for consumption or decoration
In milder climate growing season can extend into the winter months
A polytunnel can be used to increase heat and humidity for plants that require it, as well as allow gardeners to grow crops that otherwise would be difficult to grow in their region
Irrigation must be set up for watering
Although they can keep pests out, problems can build quickly in the enclosed space
What to Plant in a Polytunnel
"We recommend planting raised beds inside a polytunnel, this avoids having to walk on soil to get to plants, Raised beds also allow you to build soil to improve growing quality"
Looking After a Polytunnel and its Plants
Instal a thermometer so you can track the temperature fluctuation
Insure that dors, windows, vents are open when it gets really hot out so that the interior does not overheat and harm plants
Structure should be washed inside and outside once per year to get rid of any dust/dirt build up
Want to ensure the maximum amount of light is able to get through poly
Poly layers should last 3 to 5 (some lasts up to 10) years before needing replaced
Be use to patch holes in poly before they get to big
Keeping plants as healthy as possible is best defence against pests and disease
Make sure polytunnel has good airflow and ventilation
Instal fans and open doors, windows and vents during nice weather
Check plants regularly and address any pest or disease problem asap.
Use crop rotation practices
Do not over crowd plants as this can prevent adequate airflow around plants
We highly recommend a poly tunnel to extend your growing season! Below are some quick order to your door, ways to get started!
And lastly, we are so happy you have decided to start your gardening journey! We know your going to be hooked when you harvest your first homegrown vegetable. If you are new to veggie gardening and not sure where to start?
You can get a full complete newbie guide here -> CLICK HERE
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