Saturday 27 January 2018

All About Poly Tunnels Part 1

A group I belong to on facebook asked me to do a week of poly tunnel information posts, I started it last night and thought I would copy the info over here I have been putting up as some of you might find bits and pieces of use.
Poly Tunnel Erecting and Securing.
We live in a very exposed area on top of a mountain in South Wales exposed to all the weather can throw at us nothing to filter the wind and I had my doubts if a poly tunnel would survive up here, but three winters on and they have not moved an inch, shed windows have blown in roofs come off poultry runs blown over and the poly tunnels have not been affected in any way.
When buying ours we did look around a fair bit, I went with First Tunnels as they always answered the phone and were happy to any questions had lots of how to videos quick delivery in other words there customer service and back up was great, a poly tunnel is a considered purchase.
Think about were you want to put it mark out an area walk it pretend its there is it going to work, once up they are difficult to move, you need it positioned to make the most of the low lying sun in winter, were your prevailing winds ( the direction they mainly come from) hit it side on, not close to trees with over hanging branches, not close to tall hedges that are going to cast shade, ideally if you can the two narrow ends facing east to west and the longer sides facing South and North.
We added Anchor Plates that are set in concrete at the base of every hoop, 

 these are dug out 1m down plates go in filled with concrete with a leg left pointing up the hoops go on to these legs,

 we then went for crop bars and twin support braces that all help to support the frame in exposed locations. 

Putting the cover on is best with a couple of people warmish day still no wind, be patient and wait for the right conditions and make sure you will have the time to complete the job, you CANNOT leave a cover half done you might find next day you are retrieving a torn cover from a neighbours field. We went for an aluminum base rail, I would call it a fast fit rail, once the plastic is over the frame you put it in the base rail and stamp on it to make the whole cover taught, no digging trenches and burying it, no wood to fasten it to, all held in place,

 next step is the door, our first tunnel we went for doors opening in, our second one we went for doors opening out, because the in doors were a real pain and made access to the bed behind the door difficult, we are now switching those doors to make them open out. The plastic folds on either end of the poly tunnel where the cover is gathered up around the door way is another lesson learned on the first tunnel

I thought have the folds on the inside so rain water doesn't gather in them, I didnt give a thought to condensation gathering in them and turning into a green algae soup, 2nd tunnel the folds are on the outside, when we change the cover on the first tunnel in about 7 years time we will change the folds as well.


  1. Brilliant timing, I was lucky enough to get one for Christmas from my husband and I've been putting off putting it up. We've been told that we need planning permission in our area (national park) so we'll be delayed a bit, but I shall bookmark this to return to!

  2. Thanks Dawn! How long did it take you to put the base and poles in?

    1. The base and poles took several week ends of work as we are on shale so hard digging

  3. Your tunnels are really beautifully put together Dawn, very nice. I'll be following along on this series!! :)

  4. Great post Dawn. We have windbreak meshing on the back Gable and the front door is made with windbreak material too. It's survived lots of gales. They are great for somewhere to garden even if it's raining. So most days lately.

  5. I am torn between the aluminium base rail and trench digging so this is more food for thought whilst we’re at the critical planning stage, thanks Dawn

    1. Aluminium base rail makes it easier when it comes to replacing the cover, if you bury you will have to pull it all up out of the trench, also the base rail gives a tighter fit, pulling the cover taught and keeping it tensioned.


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