A grow tunnel polytunnel can help a gardener get going earlier in the growing season, grow healthier plants, and extend the growing season into late Autumn. Grow tunnel polytunnels are also increasingly affordable with many models around the £10 mark or under. See Grow tunnels on Amazon UK.
Grow Tunnel Polytunnel Buying Considerations
Grow tunnel polytunnels come in many different sizes:
- Polytunnel cloches
These are typically short and wide, covered in plastic or polythene film and serve a similar purpose to a cold frame. They are good for starting seedlings off early for later transplanting.
- Long, low and narrow
These may have a width and height of around 50 centimeters and are suited for low growing crops like carrots, beets and salads.
- Long, wide and high(er)
The dimensions are typically close to 1 metre wide and high. Taller crops such as cabbage, parnips and even sprouts can be grown inside.
Aside from physical size you will need to decide what cover you would like your grow tunnel polytunnel to have. There are three common choices:
- Plastic or polythene The warmest of the three choices, and the one to choose for starting crops early in the growing season and finishing late. The plastic works like a greenhouse trapping warm air inside and helping avoid damage by frost. This benefit is also a weakness on hot days and through the summer. There is a risk of plants drying out inside the cloche, and even bolting, if they become too warm for two long. It is always possible to open the ends and lift the sides, but this requires extra time and effort on your part.
- Fleece Less warm than plastic but with the advantage of better air circulation and water penetration. The fleece also acts as an impenetrable barrier to insects like carrot fly.
- Netting Netting comes in many forms and sizes and it is worth checking the grade of netting that comes with the grow tunnel polytunnel. Very fine knitted mesh will protect from insect attack. A small narrow mesh will allow insects through but prevent butterflies getting to your crops and laying their eggs. Wider nets are for avoiding bird attack. In general fine meshes are more expensive than wide mesh. Netting is a great choice for summer if your priority is protecting your crops from pest attack, rather than attempting to extend the growing season (it is the least warm of all the choices).
You can find a wide range of grow tunnels on Amazon UK: Grow tunnels on Amazon UK.