independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Tips for getting started with a tunnel

• A typical tunnel for home gardeners is 3x6m /10x20ft in size with a height of about 2m / 6ft. For suppliers, check out Colm Warren Polytunnels or

Highbank.

• Get as big and tall a polytunnel as you can possibly afford or have space

for. You will always want more space for growing and the head space will

be appreciated when digging.

• It should be positioned on well-drained soil and on level ground, in a sunny spot, orientated east-west.

• Chose a warm, dry day for erecting the tunnel. This will make the polythene supple and easier to pull tight. Get lots of help – it's perfect meitheal work. Thorough anchoring of the plastic in the soil is vital.

• In the summer, there can be extreme heat in the tunnel. You should build in as much ventilation as possible.

• If well fitted and maintained (washed each year with a soft brush and warm, soapy water), the polythene can last 10 to15 years.

• Watering is essential. Having a tap in the tunnel, or close enough for a hose connection, will save a lot of effort.

• A bench, shelf or table provides a great location for propagating seeds.

• I can recommend Joyce Russell's excellent book, 'The Polytunnel Book' (Frances Lincoln).

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