Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Polytunnel Build

about a month ago I set up shop to build a small polytunnel, to cover the new 'herb only' addition to  the veg patch. I took the idea and design from my neighbour's who own Cambium Garden Centre. last year they grew the most amazing basil plants and lettuces, I was sold on the idea. everything seems to grow better under plastic in Ireland. that said we seem to be experiencing a drought! im afraid to mention it else I jinx the good fortune we've been having. at the moment watering the garden has become a novelty!
below are some images of the polytunnel build as it progressed over one week. it's a great design as it can be opened from both sides. with over 2 feet of standing room for plants you can grow just about anything, bar: sweet corn and tall tomatoes. this bed is being held as a herb bed for basil, parsley, sage, rosemary, mint, thyme, lemon thyme, coriander, fennel bulb and lemon balm. just about every herb you can dream of - which should make for some interesting pesto recipes!  the dimensions are 3'x 14' so, 42 square feet.
empty bed constructed of pallet wood

6' lengths of 1'' piping doubled up at four points, 2'' would be ideal

2"x1" brace under piping and ends covered in polytunnel plastic, stapled at bottom
one large length of plastic 6' by 14' with 1"x1"'s at 14' lengths for lifting and weighting down sides

rolling the ends of plastic around one length before screwing both pieces together

tightly screwed together at every 16 inches or so

the large length of plastic screwed in place with 2 more 1"x1"'s. these also hold the sides up when opened.

polytunnel in action with side ajar

 more pics of the growth to come! the basil and parsley seeds are  just starting to take off and the mature plants are loving their semi tropical environment. its ironic that we are now having the best weather in years! maybe I should build one of these every year? if it keeps the weather this nice its worth the work.


  1. This is really cool, what kind of plants need that kind of humidity? Or is it ideal to get them started in there and then move them?

    1. its not the humidity as much as just warmth and protection. on hot days you need to vent the tunnel a bit. Ireland is windy wet and it can be kinda chilly. most plants do well under one of these here. you can still grow outside but a tunnel gives them more of what they want. living in so. California you definitely don't need to bother with of these. jealous! the tunnel can also be useful for starting plants in early winter and moving them out when the weather warms up.

  2. Interesting design _ I've used irrigation piping and now I've gone to 9 gauge wire and clips which is very easy to handle. I like seeing how different gardeners solve the same problems.

  3. Keep building those tunnels, Taylor, the weather is perfect just now! Actually you also need a tall one now, for the tomatoes and corn.