Polytunnel growing v outside growing

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ojay54
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Re: Polytunnel growing v outside growing

Post: #282526 ojay54
Mon Oct 20, 2014 1:09 pm

I agree with the general tenet of all this,in terms of pest control,ease of management etc the tunnel offers a lot.It wouldn't do for me to not garden outside as well.For everyday you get cosy and dry in the tunnel,there's a boiling hot one where you'd rather be outside.

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Re: Polytunnel growing v outside growing

Post: #282527 Green Aura
Mon Oct 20, 2014 2:02 pm

Without ours we'd be lost. There's not much we can grow outside up here, so I tend to count our polytunnel as "outdoors under a huge cloche. :lol: It does get mighty hot some days though - 40+ on sunny days.

I don't know how you manage to keep it snail free though, Tony. We chuck loads out, every day. We've even bought a tank with a view to harvesting them, there are so many of the little buggers. Not that we've got round to using it yet. :roll:

However, I seem to have largely cleared it of spiders - I keep bringing them into the house in my hair!
Maggie

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Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. Anais Nin

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Re: Polytunnel growing v outside growing

Post: #282529 Odsox
Mon Oct 20, 2014 2:30 pm

I'm the same Maggie, without my tunnels I certainly wouldn't be self sufficient in vegetables, although I still grow potatoes and maincrop peas outside.
Snails are not a problem, the odd ones I do find are those big ones and they are normally very helpful by resting on the polythene cover where I can easily pick them off to feed to the chicken. Slugs are still very much reduced since I dosed both tunnels with a course of nematodes a few years ago, that plus my tunnel residing robin and the copper rings have stopped them totally from getting into broccoli and cauliflowers.
Tony

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Re: Polytunnel growing v outside growing

Post: #282530 ojay54
Mon Oct 20, 2014 3:17 pm

[quote="Green Aura"]

I don't know how you manage to keep it snail free though, Tony. We chuck loads out, every day


What about a moat?

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Re: Polytunnel growing v outside growing

Post: #282531 Odsox
Mon Oct 20, 2014 4:19 pm

Some day when I get around to it, I'm going to install a copper threshold strip on all my tunnel doorways. As my polythene is buried all round that's the only way they can get in, so slugs and snails should eventually die out inside with no replacements.
Tony

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Re: Polytunnel growing v outside growing

Post: #282532 Green Aura
Mon Oct 20, 2014 4:22 pm

One thing I've noticed though, growing strawberries in the polytunnel is not so good. It gets too hot and they don't flower, just put on new runners. The one's growing outdoors, in pots, have long since finished. My polytunnel strawberries are currently in full bloom with lots of green strawberries - do you think they'll ripen at this time of year?
Maggie

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Re: Polytunnel growing v outside growing

Post: #282535 Odsox
Mon Oct 20, 2014 6:16 pm

That's the problem with living in tropical Scotland Maggie :lol:

Those strawberries I commented on in the Harvesting thread have been basking in 30c plus for most of that wonderful summer we had, so I don't think it's the heat. Mine of course are in the greenhouse but they are also in the hydroponics tube, so have ample water 24/7, and I think that might be your problem.
Plants are renown for running to seed if they are stressed and I would think that strawberries throwing runners could be a similar symptom of stress.
So the thing to do is set yourself up a full blown hydro system :iconbiggrin:

Or failing that, maybe copy DND and grow them in a piece of gutter with a constant trickle of water.

Or maybe grow prickly pear cactus instead.
Tony

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Re: Polytunnel growing v outside growing

Post: #282536 diggernotdreamer
Mon Oct 20, 2014 6:33 pm

Polytunnel growing revolutionised my life 12 years ago. I can't imagine life without a tunnel now. Early strawberries and potatoes in May, clean salad crops (they did really well despite the high temperatures), I grew the Moonlight runners in the tunnel as recommended by Odsox (thank you) and they did really well, I planted them in the bed next to the salads and they offered some welcome shade. I am looking forward to my crop of sweet potatoes, I had a little furtle around in the big pots and there seems to be something going in there. I also have outside beds, 14 x 10ft x 3ft and 3 20ft x 3ft beds for growing spuds, carrots, onions, garlic, parsnips, leeks and all the greens. I need more bed space as I am running out of rotation for the 12 varieties plus of potatoes I grow every year. The strawberries did great in the tunnel, I am planning on extending it now. They do like it moist, I mulched with gravel to keep the moisture in and they didn't stress out

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Re: Polytunnel growing v outside growing

Post: #282540 ojay54
Tue Oct 21, 2014 5:21 am

Most commercial tunnels,admittedly bigger than we are likely to want,nevertheless have some sort of system to move air through the tunnel on still days.This might be worth copying,what do you think?

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Re: Polytunnel growing v outside growing

Post: #282542 Odsox
Tue Oct 21, 2014 7:34 am

Mine automatically do that OJ. Against all "professional" advice, mine are built on a slope because that's the only place I could put them, with the bottom ends about two feet lower than the top ends.
When the inside warms up there is a very strong thermosyphon effect with masses of hot air blasting out of the top doors, being replaced by cooler air at the bottom of course.
I have thermometers either end and the difference can be as much as 10c top to bottom, which is useful for planting melons at the top and cauliflowers at the bottom, for instance.
It's so, so useful I can't understand why tunnel manufacturers don't recommend it.

EDIT: Forgot to add that my tunnels run north/south which accentuates the flow, again this is contrary to the recommended east/west.
All in all, being a rebel seems to pay off sometimes. :iconbiggrin:
Tony

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Re: Polytunnel growing v outside growing

Post: #282547 ojay54
Tue Oct 21, 2014 8:50 am

Well you've stole my thunder,'cos that's exactly what I was going to suggest!

Loads of occasions I've seen tunnels set up/down slopes for that very reason (and if we just listened to the professionals,we'd still be paddling around in dug outs.)

edit: Think I'd rather be paddling around in a dug out as it happens....

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Re: Polytunnel growing v outside growing

Post: #282557 diggernotdreamer
Tue Oct 21, 2014 11:39 am

my tunnel runs sort of East to South West, the bottom doors usually get a good breeze as we have the atlantic to the west. When I bought my big tunnel (16 x 72) I also bought a new idea by First Tunnels which is a pipe that runs the entire ridge, it is perforated with lots of holes and the idea is that warm air is sucked up and taken out, probably a bit like thermal syphoning? I don't have electricity to my big tunnel, I looked at those air movers but you need a power supply and to be honest, even on hot days, I think the pipe thingy is working

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Re: Polytunnel growing v outside growing

Post: #282574 Green Aura
Tue Oct 21, 2014 2:39 pm

Odsox wrote:Or maybe grow prickly pear cactus instead.
:tongue:

Don't forget out tunnel is covered with twinwall polycarbonate. And despite umpty mile per hour winds it takes the lot and laughs. Ours is roughly south to north, when we upgraded it we took out the back door at the back but left an open (mesh) window. It too is on a slight slope up to the back. And it does the compost bin sitting behind a power of good :lol:

I think the stress you mentioned, Tony, is the vast deviation in temperatures. Just a little sun will make it really warm but the temperature plummets at night (although our heat sink manages to keep it above freezing).
Maggie

Never doubt that you can change history. You already have. Marge Piercy

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. Anais Nin


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