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Putting up a polytunnel in Kerry.


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kerrywez
Rank attained: Hazel Tree
Rank attained: Hazel Tree


Joined: 27 Feb 2010
Posts: 28
Location: Co. Kerry

PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2010 12:42 pm    Post subject: Putting up a polytunnel in Kerry. Reply with quote

Hi I am a new member and live in Kerry. I am in the process of securing a new polytunnel, so will probably be asking all sorts of silly questions. I have read a good deal on the forum, mostly the posts regarding tunnels. I find this to be very informative and interesting. I am retired so will have loads of time to devote to my project when I get round to it.

The supplier tells me that he will be in Kerry on Tuesday week so I should have the tunnel by then, unless I get bad reports about the supplier, he is Mr. John Manning, and he is from Co. Tipperary. If anyone has anything good or bad to say about his tunnels then please do not hesitate to let me know, though he has been very good with his mails to me and is mailing me the full set of instructions on the tunnel and it's erection. The tubes are 33 mm with 2.6 walls, he reckons that they will stand up to any wind we get here. The size is 14 ft by 20 ft, so it should allow me to grow my toms on well. The last three years my toms went very well, to start, but the awful weather we had in the last three summers put pay to them, I think they got blight and that was the main reason for their downfall. Is there a need to spray for blight in the tunnel please? I do not use any non organic things in the plot and would not like to use any in the tunnel, but I seem to remember the old farmers using copper sulphate to spray the spuds for the blight and wonder if it is still possible to get it for that purpose? The polythene used is sterilite premium, a three layered, colourless, high-diffusing, anti-dripping, UV blocking greenhouse film, its almost certainly the best polythene in the world. It's very tough and is guaranteed for 5 years. Hot Spot tape is included in the price,doors cost 70 euros but you can make these yourself. I have posted the picture he sent me in an e mail, it is of the tunnel, as it will arrive.The cost will be €480 without the door or €550 with one, thought he recomend two doors as he says it gets very warm and two doors are better than one for ventilation.

We have a vegetable plot, which we have been developing for seven years now, the soil was very poor when we started, but it is now very good, as we have used farmyard manure and compost to improve it. We have had carrots, onions, peas, swedes, parsnips, as well as raspberry, blackcurrant and gooseberry. Last year I made around 15 pots of raspberry jam and 18 pots blackcurrant jam.The wee plot measures about 40 ft by 40 ft, but part of it is the top of the septic tank and is not usable. I intend to place the tunnel on the end of the lawn, where there is a rickity fence between it and the plot and it will take over the width of the lawn, with just enough room to get past the back and enough for the door end. The lawn, as is the plot, face due south and I will be locating the tunnel N/S, so the side will be facing West, with no obstructions to the East, or West either, the door end will be protected by a 5 ft high ditch and mature trees, so all should be good there.

A big hi to everyone here and thanks to the admin for allowing me to join the community.

Regards Wez

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Tunnel as it comes from the supplier.
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This is the finsihed tunnel, looks a bit scruffy to me, but it should be OK.
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janemaeve
Rank attained: Hazel Tree
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Joined: 30 Jan 2010
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Location: Cork City

PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2010 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Wez.
We just put up a 14 by 30 foot tunnel last week. It cost just under €1,000 (two doors included plus anchor plates, hot spot tape and extra height) so your one seems like good value.
We used a rotivator to break up the lawn which made preparing the beds much easier. We went with a path down the middle with bed on either side
It took four men three days to put it up with all the trench digging (so grateful to Hubby, Dad and two brothers!) . As it is so close to the house we were able to hook it up to water and electricity. I'm planning ton getting a drip irrigation system sorted out tomorrow.
I just today planted the first veg. Onion sets! Tomorrow I'm going to plant spinach and beetroot directly in the earth while my seedlings (lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, courgette, peppers and leeks ) are still indoors on the window sills.
Exciting and exhausting stuff.
We also put the first hole in the plastic today:( Our one year old got a bit enthusiastic with his shovel, but a bit of gaffa tape on both sides should hopefully do the trick.
Would love to hear your plans for your tunnel. Good luck with the erection Wink
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kerrywez
Rank attained: Hazel Tree
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Joined: 27 Feb 2010
Posts: 28
Location: Co. Kerry

PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2010 10:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Jane,
Many thanks for your reply and I am thankful that you have let me know what was involved with the erection of your tunnel. You have been busy, but in the long run it will all be worth it. I should think that the wee tare will be OK with the patch you have on it.

It will be the next week before we get the tunnel, and then the fun will begin, it will not matter how long it takes us to get it done, as they say a job worth doing and all that, I should think that the sense of achievement that you derive from completing the project is great. I know that when you get a good crop from your efforts it is very satisfying, nearly as good as catching a big Bass, Salmon or Sea Trout.

We intend to have loads of toms, some salad greens, onions, scallions, strawberrys, some peas and cucumber. I did grow some spinach a few winters ago, in a tunnel which belonged to a lady we know, she had asked me to dig the beds for her, as they had been lying redundant for years and were full of weeds, it was very hot work, but very rewarding also. She had a packet of spinach lying on a table in the tunnel and I said I would scatter it around the freshly dug beds and she did not think that anything would come of it, but they grew over the winter and she took them to the farmers market, she has a stall at, and it made her good money, being scarce at that time of year.

Like you, we intend to have a path up the middle and raised beds along the sides. Our soil here is rubbish and it is no good for anything, but a friend says he knows where to get a load of top soil, or what passes for it here. We have a friend, who fishes with us, and he spreads manure for farmers, so that will not be a problem, thank God. I should think that it will be into April before we get everything ready, but we can sow most of what we want to plant directly into the beds, though we will bring the toms on in pots, no good having them sown in the soil if they are not going to seed right. We intend to have a good variety of toms, the seeds left over in the packets will do for next year. In winter we hope to grow carrots, peas, onions, all winter varieties, spinach and winter greens and some lettuce.

Thanks again for the reply and your encouragement.

Regards Wez
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kerrywez
Rank attained: Hazel Tree
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Joined: 27 Feb 2010
Posts: 28
Location: Co. Kerry

PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2010 3:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Jean, further to my last to you, i have a wee update for you. That guy in Tip said that he could not deliver so I just let that go, but have gone for a much better, stronger and more useful, to me, tunnel. I have just paid for it and it should be with me in 7 to 10 days. I got it from Premier Polytunnels, in England. The following is what I got and the cost, I had to pay over £60 for the carriage, but got the price down to £570 all in.

14ft x 18ft £431.94
- Thermal Anti Drip - 720 gauge Upgrade £29.23
- Wide Single Door (each end) £0.00
- Anti Hot Spot Tape Kit £13.80
- Crop Bar Kit £26.00
- Joint Strengthening Kit £8.80
- Ground Cover Kit £16.85
-Sub Total: £526.42
-Delivery: £68.00
-Total: £594.42
-Less Discount: £24.42
-Total to pay: £570.00

A very good price for what I am getting. They are very good with mails and they have a help line open till 21:00 every night of the week. I have attached a picture of the tunnel. They give very detailed instructions for the construction of the tunnel, far from the rubbish one the guy from Tip sent me, his was a vastly inferior tunnel to the one I am now getting. There was already a 10% discount on the tunnel, as an offer, till the end of the month.

Hope your tunnel is all you expected and that your growing away in it. I shall be doing a bit of clearing up round the area where he tunnel is going. I think I will go and cut the grass now and have it as low as I can get it.

Regards Wez



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sal
Rank attained: Sessile Oak Tree
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Joined: 15 Sep 2008
Posts: 266
Location: kerry

PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

yes that one looks much taller too,looks much better,i`ve just had a polytunnel bought for me,my dh got it from ebay, a company in lincolnshire.a little bigger than i asked for but it will keep the kids interested as we will give them a corner each to plant in.cant wait to see it erected,when it arrives!
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kerrywez
Rank attained: Hazel Tree
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Joined: 27 Feb 2010
Posts: 28
Location: Co. Kerry

PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 10:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Got the tunnel yesterday and got started with building it. Everything went very well, we got three corner support tubes into the ground and all was nice and square, then we nearly had the last corner one in and hit resistance, but in the end it went on in. It was then that we had the sinking feeling that it might have been the bathroom waste pipe we had hit, so one of us when off to flush the toilet and sure enough there was the sound of running water coming from the tube, what a bummer. We managed to extract the tube and shoved a stick down the hole and on examining it found it was indeed wet. We had to abandon any hope of sighting the tunnel where we had wanted to and start digging down to see what the damage to the pipe was, after some very hard digging, they don't call this place Rockfield for nothing. we got to the pipe and found it was burst at the side, 1 inch and we would have missed it, but we had a dirty job cleaning out all the soil from round it and will try sorting it out tomorrow, when we can secure a piece of pipe.

Today we decided to relocate the tunnel, away from the pipe, funny it is nearly where we were going to put it at the start, but is situated east west, not idle, but needs must and that is how it has to be. After 6 hours we have managed to get the most of the framework done. I had ordered, and got for free, frame strengtheners, but they sent the wrong size, they sent 28 mm instead of 38 mm, so they are sending them on to us. The crop bar diagonal support is far too short, as are the ones for the door support bars, but I am sure they will send on the right ones when I call them in the morning.

I am quite pleased with our efforts so far. I will post some pictures when I take a few tomorrow and let you see the progress, thus far. Hope everyone else is getting on better and without hitting any pipes.

Regards Wez
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janemaeve
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Joined: 30 Jan 2010
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Location: Cork City

PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 11:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hard work indeed Wez, good to hear that your not disheartened though! Ours is up now about three weeks. We put in an irrigation ground system. while our seedlings are developing indoors the only thing planted is the onions and I have been watering them every week. Yesterday however I noticed a fine mold over the ground where I was watering : ( I think it is because I sprinkled blood fish and blood meal over the ground on that bed ( forgot to dig it in first) and the over watering caused it to mold over. I have learned my lesson about watering but I am worried about the long term consequences.
Meanwhile I have started hardening off the seedlings by bringing them out every day and in at night. Cant wait to put up some photos when I sort out the computer.
Sán
Jane
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sunnymount farm
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Joined: 01 Jul 2009
Posts: 47
Location: Tyrone

PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 11:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi all - with all this chat about polytunnels and which one is best I thought I would let you all know about a step by step guide to making your own polytunnel. I haven't made one yet but I intend to when the weather gets a little warmer. I will let you all know how I get on!

The website is www.overthegardergate.net
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kerrywez
Rank attained: Hazel Tree
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Joined: 27 Feb 2010
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Location: Co. Kerry

PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here are a couple of pictures of the framework in place, did a little more today, but just getting everything straight and bolted some parts together with the self drill bolts, they really do make the frame so much stronger. I have also included a pic of the drain pipe which we burst yesterday, it is still not fixed, but it is working OK, just will have to wait till I have time to get round to it.

Regards Wez



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sandra12
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 6:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry to hear about the poop pipe kerrywez. Things are shaping up quite well otherwise. You gonna trim back the ash trees on the left to let in a bit more light to the plastic?
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kerrywez
Rank attained: Hazel Tree
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Joined: 27 Feb 2010
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Location: Co. Kerry

PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Sandra, we cut the handy ones down a few weeks ago and very good firewood they made. We have to get a ladder to get up into the tree to get at the offending branches, but they will be going. They are to the north so would not have too big of an impact on the sun, but they might well cause the plastic to discolour and that is not very desirable. We hope to get a bit more done tomorrow, speed is not an option, we would rather get it done right and have a longer time at it than hurry and mess the whole thing up. If it is done by the start of April we will be very happy, if sooner so much the better. I suppose it will be more down to the weather than anything else, the company we got the tunnel from suggest that it is much better to have a good warm day to put the plastic on, as it is ore malleable when it is hot.and goes on that much better then.

Regards Wez
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kerrywez
Rank attained: Hazel Tree
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Location: Co. Kerry

PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 8:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

janemaeve wrote:
Hard work indeed Wez, good to hear that your not disheartened though! Ours is up now about three weeks. We put in an irrigation ground system. while our seedlings are developing indoors the only thing planted is the onions and I have been watering them every week. Yesterday however I noticed a fine mold over the ground where I was watering : ( I think it is because I sprinkled blood fish and blood meal over the ground on that bed ( forgot to dig it in first) and the over watering caused it to mold over. I have learned my lesson about watering but I am worried about the long term consequences.
Meanwhile I have started hardening off the seedlings by bringing them out every day and in at night. Cant wait to put up some photos when I sort out the computer.
Sán
Jane


Hi Jane thanks for your reply and the update on your own experience. I would say that you might be OK with the mould, have a look here http://www.organicmattersmag.com/features/313-an-introduction-to-soil-biology-part-2-compost-and-compost-tea

If you had something like those things they were pushing a few years ago, the thingy with the prongs, which you pushed into the top of the soil and twisted the handle to stir up the top of the soil a bit, it might just work the soil that wee bit for you and let the soil do it's thing. I am no expert, but there is a fellow on the forum who is a retired expert in the field and he would be able to tell you if there was any point in worrying about your slight mistake. Hope all is well with it in the long run anyway Jane. I should think that most nights from now on you might be able to leave your tiny plants out, as the frost seems to have gone for now, it was 13 today in the car when I was in Killarney, so that is good, but the grass will be growing first and need cutting, I hate grass cutting, but will have loads less to cut this year, as the tunnel will cover a fair bit of it. though I do put all the grass mowings on the compost heap, though having read that article the link is to, I am wondering if I should not be adding other things to it also, I did add the raspberry plants I cut down to it, but they never decomposed so I burnt them in the end.

Now the good times are coming you will be busy and have a great time in your runnel, as we hope to have also. I bought two plumb trees in Lidl today, we had one, have it about 4 years now and not a fruit, but I was told, by my local garden centre, that I would need more than one for fruit, seems they need another tree to become fertile, so with three now, we should have some fruit on the older tree.

Regards Wez
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galwaybeginner
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 9:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice tunnel Wez, well done! Best of luck with it.
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kerrywez
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Joined: 27 Feb 2010
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Location: Co. Kerry

PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 9:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many thanks Galway, have not got that much done the last few days, did get the holes for the door frame dug yesterday, but broke the neighbour's pick axe handle and had to get a new one today, but got a couple of very nice little post to stay my young plumb trees, just the right size and thickness for the job.

Not in too much of a hurry to get to the putting on of the plastic, as the forecast is not good for that part,, but should have the door frames in place and the doors made by the end of the week, then it will be a matter of waiting for a good warm and calm day to put the plastic on it.

Regards Wez
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sal
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Location: kerry

PostPosted: Wed Mar 24, 2010 1:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hi,we got our polytunnel last friday,Dave has started putting it together,but he dosnt want to rush it either,and is getting a friend to help,he had to take down the swings first as they are in the way,cant wait myself though,kerrywez you`ve managed to get a good bit done,dispite the pipe problem,dont expect ours to be up till end of April as we`re off to uk for a week to see family,since getting our polytunnel i`ve noticed 2 in my area that are recent.and ive noticed quite a few as i drive around,their very popular now aren`t they?
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