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Post new topic   Reply to topic    Irish Gardeners Forum Home -> Irelands Garden tools / equipment. (mowers, glasshouses & polytunnels etc).

Glasshouse versus polytunnel


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Sive
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PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2008 11:51 am    Post subject: Glasshouse versus polytunnel Reply with quote

I am trying to decide whether to invest in a glasshouse or a polytunnel. I would love to hear from anyone who has either as to the advantages and disadvantages of either. My needs would be seed-raising, extending the growing season and growing vegetables that would struggle outdoors. One important fact: my garden is very exposed at present, but I am planting heavily with hedging and trees to develop some shelter over the next few years.
I look forward to getting some interesting answers...thanks!
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crosseyedsheep
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PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2008 12:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't have either, but I do intend getting a polytunnel at some stage, initially poly tunnels provide much cheaper square footage than greenhouses but they aren't as permanent i.e. every few years you will have to invest in a new cover. Whereas you should have much less maintenance with a green house.

My mother has a green house and it's fine for raising seedlings but not much good for growing crops to maturity due to lack of space.

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BlackBird
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PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2008 1:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My views.

Polytunnel Pros
A polytunnel four or five times the size of a glasshouse can be bought for the same money, this equals more crops/plants and more headroom for you.

Polytunnels are easier to move if required.

Easier to ventilate than a Glasshouse

Glasshouse Pros
More attractive than a polytunnel. Less chance of neighbors giving out.

More suitable for a breezier location.

Not open to attack by cat claws or dogs teeth.

Stick an iron bar through it, you can replace a pane of glass. Do the same with a polytunnel and you have to try and tape it (not a great or permenant job)

Some more pros of glasshouses can be seen in this post I found with the search http://www.gardenplansireland.com/forum/about103.html

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Last edited by BlackBird on Fri Oct 10, 2008 2:09 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Sive
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PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2008 2:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for your advice, you have mentioned issues I hadn't even thought of. BlackBird I am interested in your comment about glasshouses being more suitable for exposed situations...and certainly polytunnels won't win any beauty competitions! What size does anyone think would be the smallest greenhouse worth getting if we'd like to grow 2 or 3 tomato plants as well as all the usual growing vegetables and flowers from seed etc ??
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Michael196
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 06, 2008 8:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hi Sive, there is a place near duncannon selling tunnels

also Beechdale garden center near clonroche has a tunnel on display with supplier information.

I have access to an 8 x 4 greenhouse and i easily fit 4/ 5 tomatoes, but thats it, no other room.

Hard to beat the tunnel for head room
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Blowin
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 7:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Strangely, I was looking around for the same sort of info as you and came across http://www.waltons.co.uk/greenhouses/evesham-polycarbonate-greenhouse-14x8 which seems a good buy to me - although not Irish.

I, too, am very exposed but have a low end of the garden that is quite sheltered and would be the site for whatever I put up.

Note the height of the walls. I think I'd put a row or two of blocks down first (as a base) to give me more height and, from experience at my last house, this enables you to put secondary rows in lengthways to create raised beds either side of a central gangway - less back ache!!!

So, if you position the house east/west and make the northern bed narrower that the southern one, you have room for a single row of tomatoes, cucumbers and even a grape vine along the back which won't overshaddow smaller plants. The remainder of the house is then available for lettuces, peppers and general seed propagation and 14' x 8' is a fair area overall?

@ £500 plus £30 for delivery (€665 or thereabouts) I'm seriously thinking about this option.

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Sive
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Michael and Blowin.
I see us using a greenhouse for all the messy spring work of sowing vegetable seeds and potting on so that we have decent sized plants to plant out into the raised beds as soon as the weather is right.
I would then see the greenhouse being used mainly for tomatoes......so, for two people, what size would be the minimum for our needs? (we love tomatoes!)
Blowin, I'll check out that website too. I wonder is polycarbonate strong enough in a windy situation?
I like the sound of seeing a polytunnel in Clonroche, michael. Did you mean 8 x 14 .........not 8 x 4????
Blowin also mentions 8 x 14 which is interesting.
Thanks, both of you.
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AJ
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi blowin, is that u on the righthand side heading for Bantry, U'r veg patch slopes down onto the road, plot looked well this year if it was


Blowin wrote:
Strangely, I was looking around for the same sort of info as you and came across http://www.waltons.co.uk/greenhouses/evesham-polycarbonate-greenhouse-14x8 which seems a good buy to me - although not Irish.

I, too, am very exposed but have a low end of the garden that is quite sheltered and would be the site for whatever I put up.

Note the height of the walls. I think I'd put a row or two of blocks down first (as a base) to give me more height and, from experience at my last house, this enables you to put secondary rows in lengthways to create raised beds either side of a central gangway - less back ache!!!

So, if you position the house east/west and make the northern bed narrower that the southern one, you have room for a single row of tomatoes, cucumbers and even a grape vine along the back which won't overshaddow smaller plants. The remainder of the house is then available for lettuces, peppers and general seed propagation and 14' x 8' is a fair area overall?

@ £500 plus £30 for delivery (€665 or thereabouts) I'm seriously thinking about this option.

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Blowin
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 8:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, AJ. Sorry. I keep my modest effort well hidden. I'm a mile south of Drimoleague on a tiny townland road.

As to the size of a greenhouse, Sive, it's as well to remember that you can get a small item into a big container but not the other way round.

If you've got the space, you can grow more toms than you need and either make chutney out of them when green or go in for the old wartime process of bottling them for the winter. Cucumbers go well with toms, too.

You've also got the option of planting half a dozen roots of very early potatoes before you could risk them outside.

A grapevine is another idea. They have to be planted OUTSIDE the greenhouse, I understand, with the main stem brought in via a pipe of some sort and, once they've fully grown up to the roof of your greenhouse (again on the north side) they can be trained along the full length of it to produce a good crop without shading or poaching nutrition from other plants.

I'm sure that, if you went for a house that's just big enough for your present needs, in a year or two's time you'll be wishing you had a larger one and don't forget - whatever length you buy, there's only one door and two ends so the cost isn't proportionate.

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Sive
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2008 1:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for that Blowin, everything you say makes good sense, as we have the space for a larger greenhouse.
The reality, of course, will be how much (money) we feel we can afford to invest in one, especially as we need to buy a strong one to resist our winds here....really can't go cheap and cheerful, I fear!
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walltoall
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2008 5:21 pm    Post subject: glass v polythene Reply with quote

Sive,
Polythene deteriorates under ultra-violet light. Depending on how much sun it gets in a year you may find it is clouded over in between two and four years. Maybe someone who has one up might let us know how long it was before they could not see through it? However it is a great way of retaining heat and much better than nothing! Research "Dutch Lights" for Ireland and see what you come up with. If you can get the "dutch lights" sheets and make or buy the frames you have the best of every world. I used it in the 60's. It works like leggo and you can have almost any size house you want. Currently a single sheet of dutch light is £15 in Reading. You would need about 25 sheets to make a glasshouse 12' long by about 9' wide. (Plus a door). The great thing is that the frames once made can be also used as cold frames elsewhere.
Shaun

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Blowin
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 7:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If I can add a couple of lines to Walltoall's latest (Ah. Happy days driving coaches out of Manor Road), I honestly didn't realise polytunnels were ever see through. They're quite popular round here but all opaque.

There's a chap in Ballydehob who sells and erects them - too expensive for my mind - but he has one down there that's been up for 14 years and still going strong. He works on the principle that 'buy the best and it'll last'. He's accidentally poked a hole or two through the walls but they don't get any bigger with the polythene he uses.

Another option for Sive to consider is sealed units as glazing. The double glazing business is entering a sort of 'second phase' where today's installations are replacing older double glazing units. So, Sive, if you're considering self build, why not try and get on the right side of your local installation gang and take any old sealed units off them for a € or two. When we had a couple of windows replaced, the gang was chuffed not to have to take the old ones away and I'm using them as makeshift cold frames to this day.

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Sive
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 10:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Blowin,
I'm a bit old for self-build I'm afraid, maybe I should find myself a handyman toy-boy, though the husband might object! I know exactly what you mean about discarded windows....there should be places where builders could dump usable cast-offs so that the general public could go and pick up bits and pieces for exactly these sort of projects.
But I am enjoying getting all sorts of opinions on this glasshouse v polytunnel debate, thank you all.
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Blowin
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 8:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi, Sive! Good luck with the search for a HTB.

Seriously though, if, like me, pensionable income doesn't allow unlimited expenditure, there's another aspect to this debate that may interest you.

Although I may go for the more orthodox greenhouse shape for other reasons, I've come to the conclusion that the 'lean to' pattern is probably the most user friendly. i.e. a high-ish solid wall at the back (north side) sloping down to, say 4-5ft at the front. Whether this back wall is part of a house/other building or erected for the purpose is immaterial.

We all know that tomatoes and cucumbers, for example, are taller than peppers which, in turn, are taller than, say, lettuces so a one way slope to the roof enables taller crops to be planted hard against the north side, where they can't shade anything else, and other crops can be sown according to likely height so that all receive a 'fair share' of sunlight.

The other economical benefit of lean tos is that of maintaining a frostfree temperature in the house. If you amass a collection of plastic containers such as milk cartons or, better still, 5ltr detergent containers, they can be painted matt black - blackboard paint is ideal - and filled with water.

The filled containers are then arranged along the back wall, either on narrow shelves or stacked on top of one another and held in place by battens or strong wire/plastic netting, to form as near a solid wall of them as possible.

People with far superior knowledge of science than me tell me that, even in winter, the amount of light/uv heat they'll receive during the day will enable them to absorb enough warmth to be radiated back out once the temperature drops and keep the house just that one or two vital degrees above freezing point. And it's free.

If you want to go to the nth degree, the back wall can first be lined with some sort of reflective material - kitchen foil, old mirrors etc - to bounce the sun's rays back for a 'second helping' but some may consider this to be a bit OTT.

Overall, the lean to has a lot going for it.[/i]

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James Kilkelly
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 9:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For those of you who have not seen one of these lean-to's, paddy-s has a few pictures of his wonderful DIY one in this thread......... Hello from Sligo.

Need materials?
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