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Green polytunnel or greenhouse?

I want to grow tomatoes and aubergines etc in a polytunnel. For now, I don't want to invest too much, I'd rather get something small and mobile that I can try methods and move around the garden until I have my finished layout and better understanding (I'm just starting out this year so might re-arrange beds etc next year once I have a better understanding of how to grow, how much space I need for stuff, etc). So I'm thinking of a cheap polytunnel like this one -

The above polytunnel (and most cheap ones I see) are green though, would this affect growing? We don't get the most sunlight up here in Scotland so a little worried about that.

Other options might be a greenhouse, like this one? A bit more expensive but seems somewhat mobile, and clear

Not sure if there are cheaper methods for just starting out, I saw some really flimsy models that might be OK for starting? Eg.

Would appreciate any advice on this matter, thanks


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  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 6,326

    I think you could use the cheap polytunnel if you treat it like a tent, so put it up for about 3 or 4 months, July to September or thereabouts, to ripen toms etc, then take it down because it will not cope with either winds in autumn or snow in winter. Probably easier with the tunnel than the greenhouse because I expect the tunnel will roll up like a tent to store over winter more readily.

    You might need to get both that and the last 'growhouse' type option (unless you have a lot of windowsill space for young plants). Put the growhouse against your house wall to get maximum warmth and shelter from the wind, use that to raise your tomato plants from seeds in March to sturdy young plants in June. Then put up your tunnel to give more space to grow them on over summer and early autumn. You may find toms and chillies do better staying in the clear plastic growhouse, Cucumbers like the humidity and and need less light so will probably do fine in the green tunnel (don't know about aubergines, never managed to grow one bigger than my thumb nail image). Then clean and dry both the covers, pack them up and put them away.

    Might work. image Especially if you chose 'outdoor' varieties and then grow them semi-indoors.

    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first” 
  • mnwhizzmnwhizz Posts: 1
    I live in East Anglia, and have used green polytunnels for 4 years.  Had to replace one of them.  They seem to be excellent for bringing small plants on in the early months, but they just don't do well for maturing plants and crops - eg tomatoes, squashes, carrots, strawberries etc - these do much better outside. I'm pretty good at watering so it's not that. My guess is that it's the light levels are not sufficient. The only exception is that they seem to be fine for green salad crops. You cannot buy (at least I cannot anywhere find) clear small polytunnels.  I guess they probably overheat and one's not expected to  have all the ventilation and irrigation systems that a larger polytunnel  might have...   
  • Allotment BoyAllotment Boy North London Posts: 5,833
    Yes in the long term a proper greenhouse is the most durable option I echo what Scroggin said about durability of the green tunnels. Several people have tried them on our Allotment site & the winter always destroys them. In a garden it may be different. You get a much bigger volume with a tunnel for less money but remember even the professional grade ones need covers replacing every 5-7 years.
    AB Still learning

  • Bromley, KentPosts: 127
    I've made a couple of these and bought some horticultural polythene
    I'll soon find out the pitfalls I expect
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 20,423
    Some years ago I bought a green polytunnel to try it out while I saved up for a greenhouse. Then I bought a greenhouse and never looked back. I sow seeds in it in Spring, pot up plug plants, then grown tomatoes in summer. OH has put in electricity so now I have heated mats and heated propagators.
    Dordogne and Norfolk
  • SkandiSkandi Northern DenmarkPosts: 1,574
    You can buy small clear polly.tunnels.
    there is a link to several from 2x2m to 8x3m and larger.
    As others have said you get what you pay for, these will not last a full year outside the parents in law had a pair of the green ones up two years ago (3x6m) lettuce and cabbages thrived, tomatoes sulked. The tunnels survived until the first winter storm (around 50mph winds) turned them inside out.  I am just in the process of putting up a pair myself they are very easy to put up I have to say, I will be taking the covers off in October to avoid them being destroyed!

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