Forum home The potting shed

In the Polytunnel

Hello everyone
I have been following 'Sheps Greenhouse Thread' with great interest and wondered if a similar thread would be useful for polytunnel gardeners. Hopefully there will be interest.

We inherited a disused and run down PT when we moved to our cottage over 14 years ago. At first we were excited to use it (once the sheep were moved) even with the splits, lack of doors and overhanging trees! We patched it up as best we could, made raised beds and planted a black hamburg grapevine. The raised beds were a must because the soil, if you could call it that, was pretty dried out solid clay. Unfortunately our lack of knowledge (no internet for us, then) work commitments (so lack of time) meant that the PT just continued in its state of disrepair and just went downhill. We couldn't afford to re-cover it and just couldn't give it the time it needed for successful growing - although we always tried to get it up and running again each spring.
The grapevine? Well, luckily it survived the lack of care and water because of the splits (plus, I added a few more strategically placed splits ✂️ 🤣). It never produced any fruit and was left to do its own thing. 🤦🏼‍♀️
Time moves on. We have now retired and have all the time we need - plus GW to give us ideas and help when needed. So, we are trying to make amends to the grapevine and have been working really hard to get the PT up and working. We have replaced the ailing cover - though that was pretty tricky with just two of us and was probably not done as professionally as we would have liked - but we are not professionals and it seems to 'work'! But, we are pleased with it and ... it has DOORS! We cut back several large branches of the mature beech trees and reduced the height of the horrid leylandii and elder. Just one more hedge/tree that needs attention ... when the birds have finished nesting ... but that can wait 'til autumn now.
Goodness, this is getting to be rather a long post, so here are some photos ...



  • LynLyn Posts: 22,015
    Well done, looks brilliant.  My son made one a few years ago,  he’d had a couple of blow aways, both blown away,  he’s in a very windy spot in Cornwall, but his tunnel’s standing up well.
    You've got a nice bit of grass there,  should make some good compost to improve your soil. 
    Can’t wait until we meet up,  I’d like to see your garden.

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • FireFire Posts: 17,116
    Congratulations - a lot of hard work there!
  • This looks great. Looking forward to seeing the progress from here!
    An exotic jungle garden in West Yorkshire: /
  • ShepherdsBarnShepherdsBarn Posts: 401
    Thanks @Lyn, we are in a windy spot too - quite high up here, but hopefully the PT won't blow away. We didn't dig the trench as wide and deep as was suggested by the supplier, but we did use the same trench as was used preciously i.e. we didn't dig any deeper - mainly because of all the tree roots. Also, it is fairly sheltered - with the surrounding hedges and trees on three sides so it does have some advantages!
    Yes, we do have plenty of grass - though the goats and chickens tend to keep it down somewhat!
    The garden is a work in progress; our daughter who has a gardening business did some great work while we were both working - but 4 hours per week wasn't enough to keep the weeds at bay ... and now we are retired it's all down to us 🤦🏼‍♀️.
    Looking forward to meeting up! 
  • ShepherdsBarnShepherdsBarn Posts: 401
    Thanks @Fire and @carletonexotic ... I appreciate your support! 😃
  • ShepherdsBarnShepherdsBarn Posts: 401
    Initially, we had 10 raised beds but when my husband lent our neighbours his rotovator for their polytunnel, he was impressed at how they had made full use of every bit of growing space. When we looked at our PT we realised that we had lots of wasted space between beds. So we added some pallet planks which effectively joined the beds and now have a greater area for planting - not pretty, but it works. It does make it more tricky to get to the end of the beds but I just kneel on a board.
    In the beds I am growing squash (patty pan) x 2, courgette, cucumber x 2, cauliflower (?!), tomatoes x 2, cucamelon, peppers and grapevine; interspersed is garlic and lettuce. I have since read that cauliflower (like tomatoes) need to be planted deep - up to the seed leaves ... I failed with that!
    What do others grow in their polytunnels?

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,195
    Looks good.  Well done.

    Ours is 8m x 4m and was erected single-handed by OH in what has become our veg plot.  I ordered one with doors either end but no side vents and it has a green mesh net that can be added when the sun gets too hot.  That is any day now given we had 38C here yesterday but first I want to spray off the accumulation of green algae, especially on the north side.

    It's been up 5 years now and has just a couple of tears on the main door which I will repair with clear tape.   It has withstood strong gales and even the side winds of a tornado that too the roof off our two barns just 50m away.

    We've put a path down the middle and then built up one long bed on either side which are now deep enough to need edging from beams recovered from the barn roofs.   I use those beds for tomatoes, chillies and cucumbers so I get good, blight free crops.  I have seep hoses in both beds.

    I also have an old table as a work bench for sowing seeds plus some IKEA metal shelving with plastic covers that I use as extra protection for early seedlings when temps are fluctuating a lot between night and day and it also keep the chooks off.  They get to use the polytunnel on rainy days in autumn and winter but are kept out once the toms go in in late March.

    In winter I use it to store my citrus plants and tender fuchsias and a Bird of Paradise plant.  
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • ShepherdsBarnShepherdsBarn Posts: 401
    It sounds lovely, @Obelixx ... do you have any photos?
    38C! Crikes, that's hot! 
    Seep hoses are a good idea ... though I do actually enjoy watering ... I find it quite therapeutic in the polytunnel and greenhouse - not the garden though. 
  • ShepsSheps Posts: 1,765
    @ShepherdsBarn That's a superb turnaround and it looks like it's very productive already.

    Great selection of fruit and vegetables too, I've often wondered what a cucamelon tastes like.

    Looking forward to more updates and have bookmarked the thread.
  • ShepherdsBarnShepherdsBarn Posts: 401
    Ah ... thank you @Sheps. It's all a learning curve - we have always had an interest in the garden and polytunnel but never, until now, had the time to put to it. Retirement is a wonderful thing!
Sign In or Register to comment.