Build a polytunnel

Polytunnels aka: grow tunnels, high tunnels, polyhouse, hoophouse or hoop greenhouse are becoming more and more popular for use on allotments for very good reason. These steel framed, polyethylene covered buildings are a durable, affordable, preferable alternative to an old-fashioned greenhouse gardening.

Passive solar energy heats the interior of the building, the soil and the plants inside, and the heat is retained far longer than in a classic greenhouse. Even in very cold weather, the temperature inside stays fairly steady. Adding a removable layer of bubble wrap to the interior walls is a great way to retain even more heat in the winter.

build a polytunnel

When needed, you can control the temperature, ventilation and humidity either manually or with automatically controlled equipment. In this article we explain the basics of building a good polytunnel and provide videos with instructions for working with a kit or doing it yourself DIY.

The first and most important step is to lay the foundation tubes correctly. If using a pre-fab polytunnel kit, they will be provided. Otherwise source water pipe or scaffolding pole off-cuts from your local building supply. Begin by marking evenly spaced base positions and setting your corners at perfect right angles.

Set a block of wood on top of the tubes while hammering to avoid breaking them. Remember to check your installation with a level before moving on to the next step.

build a polytunnel

These are typically in sections that need to be assembled, slid over the foundation tubing and bolted in place. Once your hoops are in place, install a ridge pole on top, right in the center. This will provide bracing for the whole structure and support for the doorframes.

Make sure everything is properly lined up and then tighten every joint completely. Before you stretch the covering over your frame, be sure to apply padding to prevent tearing the cover. If you have a kit, cushioning will be provided. If you are doing it yourself, use anti-hot-spot tape or foam pipe coverings.

Clear rocks, sticks and other pointy objects away from a large spot on the ground and roll out your polyethylene covering. To secure it at the bottom, you can either attach it to the base rail or bury it in the ground surrounding the structure.

How To Build A DIY Or Kit Polytunnel Greenhouse

To do this, dig a trench all around 30 cm deep and cover the material with dirt. You may wish to secure it with bricks or rocks.Click here for more details. Polytunnels can be a great investment for gardeners, helping to extend the growing season. They can also allow you to be more self-sufficient by increasing your yield and allowing you to grow more exotic varieties. If you are considering buying a polytunnela kit can be a great way to go and save you hundreds of pounds on installation.

Additionally, building a polytunnel from scratch is probably easier than you think — we often say that building a polytunnel is a bit like putting together giant meccano. To build a standard polytunnel kit, you will need an additional pair of hands and some basic tools. Many customers build their tunnels over a weekend, but there are a number of factors that determine how long it takes — the size and specification of the polytunnel, digging conditions, weather, and DIY skills all factor into the time it takes to build a kit.

Follow the instructions set out in this guide to learn how to build a polytunnel DIY style. Providing the ground is reasonably level, the only site preparation you will need to carry out is a simple site clearance. After doing this, you can begin:. Foundations are the first step. Ensuring each of the foundation tubes is placed correctly is crucial, so take your time marking the positions and ensuring they are correctly and evenly spaced.

Next, placing a wooden block between the tubes and the hammer to avoid damage, drive the foundation tubes into the ground. Now you are ready to connect the hoop sections together. Corner stabilisers are then fixed in position at each corner and, if part of the kit, door rails are placed on the two end hoops. With the foundations and standard kit construction in place, the next stage is to cover with polythene. This is crucial to the success of your polytunnel as the plastic sheet must be fitted with a taut, drum tight finish in order to avoid storm damage and to provide an optimal growing environment for your crops.

Firstly, check your hoops to ensure there are no rough edges and that any fixings, such as screws, nuts and bolts, are on the inside of the frame — this will prevent damage to the plastic sheeting. Apply anti hot spot tape to the hoops — the smooth surface of the tape allows the cover to be pulled easily over the frame without catching or tearing. With a helper or several depending on the size of polytunnelroll the cover out along the side of the tunnel and pull the polythene over the entire frame, ensuring you have the same overhang down each side and end of the tunnel.

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The standard method is to dig a trench around the polytunnel, then bury the polythene in the ground to deliver tension and keep it in place. Alternatively and necessary if constructing on hard groundinstall a wooden or aluminium base rail around the base of the framework and secure the polythene cover to the base rail using timber battens and nails or PVC infills. When using this method for fitting the cover, it is important that the foundation tubes are secured into the ground with the use of anchor plates or concrete to prevent the framework from lifting in strong winds.

The polytunnel plastic is secured on the ends of the tunnel by being fitted to the door frames using timber battens and nails. With your polytunnel build complete, you can prepare the interior ready for planting.Allotment Gardening Grow all you can eat on your own allotment. Page Last Updated on 14th December at am. Home Products Search Contact. Site Search. Latest Articles Allotment Gardening Grow all you can eat on your own allotment.

Make Your Own DIY Polytunnel Find out how to make your own robust polytunnel for half the price of the retail product Make Your Own DIY Polytunnel building grow your own greenhouse In our article Why Buy a Polytunnel we looked at the many benefits of polytunnels - primarily cost savings over greenhouses for an extended growing season.

Although polytunnels are considerably cheaper than greenhouses for an equivalent growing area, they are still quite expensive. In this article we will show you how you can build your own polytunnel with easy to source and cheaply available parts. Build Your Own Polytunnel The two main components of a polytunnel are the tunnel framework and the polythene cover.

Our shopping guide to polytunnels has useful links to help you source a suitable long-lasting cover. That just leaves the framework to be put together as the DIY project. A standard polytunnel has a framework constructed from hoops of aluminimum or other metal tubing. This is replicated using offcuts of scaffolding tubes and mains water pipe. Both of these materials can often be sourced free of charge from building sites, or can be purchased new inexpensively.

Standard scaffolding poles 48mm outside diameter should be cut to approximately six foot lengths. These must then be driven into the ground to approximately three foot depth sticking straight up from the ground. This will give a polytunnel with 3 foot high straight sides. Use a heavy hammer with a block of wood on the top of the tube so that it does not get damaged. A spirit level will help to ensure the poles are completely vertical.Polytunnels are an increasingly common sight on an allotment.

They are a cheaper and larger alternative to greenhouses, and without the problems associated with broken glass. The work to build a polytunnel is significantly more than for a simple plastic greenhouse, but the strength and durability can be much greater, and they provide significantly more growing space. The advantages of using a polytunnel include easier germination in spring and a longer growing season.

They are especially good for mediterranean vegetables like tomatoes, chillies, aubergines, peppers, and cucumbers. The first stage is levelling the ground ready for the construction of the polytunnel. This task is best done during late autumn, winter, or early spring when the ground is still soft and easier to work.

Once level, the position of the feet are marked. The easiest way of doing this is to measure one side and place two markers at each end. Using some maths, it is possible to work out the diagonal length of the polytunnel the length from opposite corners. On the ground, string or tape is cut to these measurements, and used to accurately mark out all the remaining positions of the feet.

The foundations of the feet are then dug out.

build a polytunnel

A base plate is attached to a foundation tube using clamps positioned above and below the plate, and the plate is buried in the bottom of the hole. The hole is then filled with earth, burying the base plate. The weight of the earth is what stops the foundation tube being lifted out in strong weather. It is worth spending time to ensure that all the feet are correctly positioned and inline.

Any mistakes at this stage will become obvious when you start to erect the hoops that form the skeleton of the polytunnel. The metal parts of the hoop are simply slotted together. When all the hoops are correctly aligned. A centre rail is used to strengthen the metal hoops and stop them moving side to side. The centre rail is attached using p-clips, and again once properly aligned, fixed into place using self drilling screws that go through the p-clips themselves to stop them moving.

Crop bars are then added.Polytunnels seem to be popping up all over the place — and with good reason! And, you get all of these benefits without the hassle that comes with erecting a permanent structure such as a greenhouse. Basically speaking a polytunnel is constructed from a metal-framed semi-circular tunnel covered in hardwearing polythene with UV inhibitors to maximize its lifetime.

As with building any structure, you need to start by laying the foundations. You should make sure the positions are evenly spaced and that the corners are at right angles, otherwise your tunnel might not be stable. You should then simply drive the foundation tubes into the ground at those marked positions.

You can do this with a large hammer — but make sure to place a wooden block between the hammer and the tops of the tubes to avoid damaging or distorting them.

These should be cut to about six feet in length and driven into the ground to a depth of about three feet, depending on your desired polytunnel size. The bigger the tunnel the deeper the poles should go. To build the frame, simply connect the hoops together they generally come in multiple sections and simply slide them over the foundation tubes, bolting each in place.

Check that the hoops are all straight and in line, then tighten all the joints carefully. Clear any stones from the ground around your frame and unroll the cover, sliding it over the hoops so it sits evenly over the frame.

There you have it, your very own polytunnel!

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build a polytunnel

We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Pano Savvidis.Building your own polytunnel from a kit can save you hundreds of pounds in construction costs. All you need are some basic DIY skills and some willing helpers — four people is ideal.

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Choose a warm day to install the cover. Warm weather makes the plastic more pliable and therefore easier to stretch tightly over the frame. Before assembling your kit, ensure the site is level.

How To Build Your Own Polytunnel

If your site is exposed, you might wish to put up fences, screens or even hedging. When the kit arrives, check thoroughly that all components are there, and read the instructions carefully. Once the structure is up, add a path, if necessary, using paving slabs, bricks, or self-setting gravel edged with timber. Where you intend to plant direct into the border soil, fork it thoroughly to relieve any compaction and incorporate plenty of compost.

Correctly placed foundation tubes will ensure the stability of your polytunnel. Use an anchor plate with the tubes shown above if fitting a base rail — see step 3 — or on exposed windy sites.

You can also cement in your foundation tubes.

How easy is a Polytunnel to construct? - V71

Then drive the foundation tubes into the ground, hammering onto a wooden block to avoid damaging them. Connect the separate hoop sections together, then slide the ends over the foundation tubes. Fix the support struts to each hoop. Finally, fit the ridge pole, corner bracing and door frames. Check that the hoops are all straight and in line, then tighten all the joints carefully. There are two ways to hold the plastic cover in place: pinning it to a wooden base rail which is fitted to the foundation tubes; or burying a skirt of polythene in a trench 30cm deep.

If your model is supplied without a base rail, you can make one using lengths of 70 x 45mm timber, cut to length, then bolted on to the foundation tubes. Anti-hot spot tape is used to create a layer of protection between the polythene cover and the metal hoops, which can become hot in summer. This prevents heat degradation of the cover and can increase its life by over a year. Place a strip along each hoop before fixing the cover in place.

Clear any stones from the ground and unroll the cover, sliding it over the hoops so it sits evenly over the frame. Fix it to the base rail or bury in a trench. Keep the plastic taut when fitting. Cut it to fit the doors by making a v-shaped flap. Start by making the frames for all the doors and covering them with polythene. Sliding doors hang from a runner attached to the top of the door frame, while hinged types are designed to swing on one side of the frame.

Hold the door in the frame before attaching it, to ensure you hang it squarely in place, so it fits the opening correctly.

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Autumn marks the start of the season to plant bare-root roses for stunning floral displays next summer. Choose from collections of shrub, bush and roses standards discounted prices displayed.Quick Navigation. Everyone and their grandmother seems to be building or buying polytunnels these days — and for a good reason.

How to build a polytunnel

A polytunnel is best thought of as a frame for your garden. This means you can adjust the temperature inside your polytunnel and be confident that it will remain stable for quite a while. In winter, you can keep it even warmer inside by lining the tunnel in bubble wrap to provide further insulation.

The polythene film covering your frame typically lasts around years…quite a while.

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When building anything, you always have to start by laying the foundation. When building polytunnels, placing your foundation tubes correctly is vital to both the longevity and stability of your tunnel.

Your first step is to mark the base positions around your garden, making sure that you space them evenly apart. All of the angles should be square to one another. Next, drive your foundation tubes into the ground at the positions you marked. Cut them to about 6 feet long and drive them into the ground about three feet deep.

Adjust this depth based on how large your want your polytunnel to be. After you have driven all of your foundation tubes into the ground, check them with a spirit level to make sure they are level. You can either use tubes provided in a pre-fabricated polytunnel, or if building your own tunnel from scratch offcuts of scaffolding poles or mains water pipe provide the perfect inexpensive substitute — these should be cut to about six feet in length, and driven into the ground to a depth of about three feet depending on your desired polytunnel size.

Choose your hoop size wisely — this will determine the overall size of your polytunnel. Connect the hoops together once you have the basic framework laid out. Slide them over the foundation tubes and bolt them in place. Lastly, fit your ridge pole, doorframes, and corner bracing. Make sure your hoops are straight and in line, then tighten everything together. This is the last step before you add your polythene cover, so make sure that everything is exactly how you want it to be before continuing.

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Unroll your sheet on the ground and slide it over your hoops so it fits perfectly evenly across the entire frame. Most people just attach their sheet to the base rail to secure it, or you can just bury it in a trench about half a foot deep. Header image by Sam W. This article contains incorrect information. This article is missing information that I need.

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