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wellington womble

A Polytunnel

Would I be mad to be thinking about getting one? I've got lots of space and time to get out most days, now. I wondered whether watering was a real bind, and if pests are a big problem? What do people grow in them?
OtleyLad

Re: A Polytunnel

Would I be mad to be thinking about getting one? I've got lots of space and time to get out most days, now. I wondered whether watering was a real bind, and if pests are a big problem? What do people grow in them?


Apart from the fact it would look ugly I'd cover the whole of my veg garden under a polytunnel if I could (and if I could persuade the OH). You can grow anything under it and they would do better than outside - certainly true here in Wharfedale.
If anything there are less pests, diseases as the tunnel offers protection from both. A mesh screen on the doors can keep out butterflies, etc.
Get a drip feed irrigation kit (they really don't cost that much) and watering is a doddle too.
Lorrainelovesplants

Ive had mine up for over 5 years - its never really had pests as such in it - sometimes black stinging flying parasitic wasps get in, and the odd mouse, but nothing really,
Ive grown strawberries, tomatoes and sweet peppers in it, but great for starting plants off in.
Mainly I use it for drying washing (seriously) Embarassed
Tavascarow

I wouldn't cover the whole garden, in the heat of Summer salad bolts to fast & is better outside but yes it's a very useful building.
wellington womble

Sounds positive. I don't think I ought to cover the whole garden, it being two acres, but I've certainly room for a sizeable one. I suppose planning is a problem? It always is, here.

I had an idea they got red spider mite and white/green fly?

Does anyone know if there are companies that will put them up for you? I have an assistant, but we both find this sort of thing tricky, as she is three and a half foot high, and I'm not that much taller!

I will definitely get a watering system. Can you put holes in the plastic for hoses? I was vaguely thinking of rainwater running to a waterbutt inside, like the greenhouse has (courtesy of a cracked pane)

My greenhouse is on slabs, so I want covered space to plant in the ground for some tender things like lots of tomatoes, French beans, squashes and sweet potatoes, but mostly I want more of my 'usual' summer veg, for more of the year. Things like salad potatoes, broccoli, baby carrots, peas (does anyone ever grow enough peas?!) and salad. Does asparagus grow well indoors? Are conditions very similar to green houses, or are there important differences?

What sort of size would be sensible, given that space isn't a problem? Obviously, bigger ones are more expensive, but it's probably worth doing the thing properly.
Slim



I had an idea they got red spider mite and white/green fly?



This can certainly be an issue. Good preventative planning (and purchasing unfortunately) can make it a non-issue. Banker plants where you actually grow the little #$@#*s on purpose, and the predators that feed on them. That way if issues pop in the tunnel the predators are ready to go get 'em.

It's a bit less of an issue if you can keep the tunnel weed free and let it get really dead over winter with little plant material inside for them to overwinter on (though this might require the cold winters that we get here, not sure if you get cold enough)
NorthernMonkeyGirl

I wouldn't put holes in the main plastic, it's under tension and will probably rip. But you could run hoses and things through either end panel - that gets "glazed" separately normally. Bebo

https://www.firsttunnels.co.uk/polytunnel-guttering.asp Tavascarow

Sounds positive. I don't think I ought to cover the whole garden, it being two acres, but I've certainly room for a sizeable one. I suppose planning is a problem? It always is, here.

I had an idea they got red spider mite and white/green fly?

Does anyone know if there are companies that will put them up for you? I have an assistant, but we both find this sort of thing tricky, as she is three and a half foot high, and I'm not that much taller!

I will definitely get a watering system. Can you put holes in the plastic for hoses? I was vaguely thinking of rainwater running to a waterbutt inside, like the greenhouse has (courtesy of a cracked pane)

My greenhouse is on slabs, so I want covered space to plant in the ground for some tender things like lots of tomatoes, French beans, squashes and sweet potatoes, but mostly I want more of my 'usual' summer veg, for more of the year. Things like salad potatoes, broccoli, baby carrots, peas (does anyone ever grow enough peas?!) and salad. Does asparagus grow well indoors? Are conditions very similar to green houses, or are there important differences?

What sort of size would be sensible, given that space isn't a problem? Obviously, bigger ones are more expensive, but it's probably worth doing the thing properly. Bring your water in through the doorway.
Some garden centres will erect them for you at a price but usually only if you buy it from them at an even higher price.
A good landscaping firm will as well, & wont mind where you bought it.
But make sure thy know what they are at.
If you are buying new the manufacturer might be able to recommend someone.
Control of pest & disease is more about in house hygiene, temperature & humidity control (particularly spider mite who like it hot & dry), & crop rotation. There are plastic covers on the market now which block certain wavelengths of light, which then apparently inhibit white & greenfly breeding.
I have no idea how effective they are I've only ever used the ordinary visqueen covers & never had a major problem.
Slim

If you really want a nice water setup, dig a trench below frostline (and future frostline) and run a poly line under the endwall to a frost-free hydrant in the tunnel. Water hookup all year. OtleyLad



I had an idea they got red spider mite and white/green fly?



I've not had problems with mites or green/white fly in the 5 years I've been using tunnels but I have had problems with grey mildew on climbing beans - it spreads like wildfire once it gets a hold - think this is primarily down to ventilation - keeping a flow of air through the tunnel.
Lorrainelovesplants

Ive never had red mite or green or white fly... wellington womble

That's encouraging. Looks like the only question is what size can I get away with....

I wanted to put guttering on the outside, and the water butt on the inside for a heat sink. I will run a hose, although I might not be able to bury it. I haven't decided where to put it yet.

What size do other people have? I'm hopeless at visualising sizes.
OtleyLad

I've one 10ft wide and 15ft long and a 2nd 10ft wide by 20ft long. The first is oriented east-west and the 2nd north-south. The bigger one is the better grower. Maybe the bigger size provides a more stable climate. Bebo

Ive never had red mite or green or white fly...

Ditto.

Two. One is 14ft by 25ft. The other is 12ft by 30ft. Must admit, one is fully used every spring summer and autumn, the other not so much.
wellington womble

Thanks. I'm considering 14x30. Or maybe 40. I'll phone planning in the morning. Slim

The larger the volume of air in the tunnel, the better it maintains heat. If you can get tall side walls, do it. It'll be more comfortable to have the head space, and you get a much larger of volume of air to hold heat in the winter, with a minor increase in surface area of the tunnel with which to lose the heat. wellington womble

I don't think I will get planning permission. Also, I don't really need much headroom Wink Mardu

Had my polytunnel 8 years and I wouldn't be without it. It's 14 feet wide by 25 feet long and I always cram it full. I am sure I could fill a larger one! The straight sides give much more room for growing. I have permanent strawberry and asparagus beds, grow early crops of broad, French & runner beans and peas, a couple of early potato plants and one courgette plant. Then during the main season have tomatoes, aubergines, melons, chillies, peppers, celery, some herbs plus I can't remember what else! I have never had problems with fly or mite. I have had problems with mice/vole and, once, a rabbit. The tunnel is fairly high and that allows for a hanging shelf down the centre where I can raise seedlings away from mice, voles etc. I, also, have a mini greenhouse in it for frost protection of young plants. Unfortunately it is away from other buildings where we do collect run off water and I have never got round to collecting the rain off the tunnel. Mind you, if I did I then would have to fill a watering can and hand water. It takes me appx 10 to 15 minutes once a day with the hose pipe when everything is growing well. At other times of the year I do use the watering can with rain collected from the nearest shed. The tunnel is certainly worth its weight in gold. Very Happy

What's the problem with planning permission? Would a smaller one be acceptable or is it other properties close by? Some councils don't even require permission whilst others require you to jump through hoops. I know of one case where it had to be proved that the tunnel would be accessible for wheelchair users. Hope you manage to sort something.
Mistress Rose

If the initial reply from planning was no, look it up on the internet. We were told that we couldn't have anything in the woods, even a container, but as we come under an agricultural holding, and other things come under temporary structures, the planning officer was completely wrong. dan1

Ive had rats, rabbits and various smaller rodents taking up residence in mine. Voles nicked some peas. Ants were the main culprits with the strawberries.
Watering is a big issue and it's not straightforward collecting from the roof (though I see firsttunnels do a guttering thing. They also do a good series of youtube vids for erecting them)
I use porous hose buried under the topsoil coneected to a hose and timer.
I'd be surprise if you needed planning at all, as it's a tempory structure, unless you're in some kind of beautiful special heritage place where they're precious about these things
dan
Tavascarow

If the initial reply from planning was no, look it up on the internet. We were told that we couldn't have anything in the woods, even a container, but as we come under an agricultural holding, and other things come under temporary structures, the planning officer was completely wrong. I'm sure some planning officers make it up as they go along.
I read it was even easier to erect buildings related to forestry through the permitted development rules than it is for agriculture.
Woodlands & planning legislation.
Mistress Rose

Sorry, but I wouldn't believe that either. Permitted development only applies to genuine woodland holdings for forestry, not the size that Woodlands.co.uk sells. In fact a number of their customers have had trouble and been told to take down even garden sheds to keep tools in.

It is always as well to read up on the planning rules directly before contacting the planning people.
wellington womble

Planning is quite complex here. There is a lot of planning history, so it will hoops all the way, for sure. My best chance is probably to be open with the planners. The tunnel won't be in my garden, but the 'paddock'. No one is sure what planning catergory this has. It is very overlooked, by probably fifty houses.

The planning for polytunnel is quite ambiguous, anyway. So without knowing the catergory, I can't create the right 'spin'. I'm hoping they'll tell me, but planning is crazy here.
wellington womble

No chance of getting planning. It is apparently classed as 'open countryside' which isn't a proper class, and therefore I can't find out what I can actually do. Attempts to explain that I cannot stay within the bounds of a classification unless someone will tell me what it is went unheeded.

Things in it which are 'ancillary to the use of the dwelling house' have been deemed unlawful, as it is a separate planning unit. With no classification of its own, apparently. However, no one is making a fuss about them, so I am quietly enjoying them. As this includes an 8 kilowatt solar array (which is definitely ancillary, and thus probably also unlawful, although I was told that I didn't need planning for it) I really don't want to rock the boat with a great big polytunnel, at least until I plant more trees. Damn shame.
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