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I’ve Bought a Polytunnel!

You might have seen an advert floating on some of the forum pages for polytunnels from £79.00. Well, I couldn’t resist so I’ve bought one for myself from Warehouse24. They’ve got three on offer: EDIT – they no longer stock polytunnels.

Polytunnels

Polytunnels

Being me, I couldn’t resist so I ordered the biggest one. I have to say they’re pretty good on service. It arrived the next day, which I couldn’t complain about – especially as it’s free delivery.

I’ve not put it up but I’ve opened the box and checked all the parts are there and had a good look at it.

Now, to some extent, you only get what you pay for. A ‘proper’ polytunnel with baseplates, doors, vent kits etc of a similar size would set you back the best part of £900!

A quality tunnel, properly built, will last for years and withstand the worst of storms. Eventually the cover needs to be replaced but that’s something that will set you back around £50 to £70 so not too expensive, but a half day job for two people to fix it.

The tunnel I’ve bought is more like those plastic greenhouses you find in the supermarkets and discount stores. The frame is 25mm steel, powder coated like the more expensive tunnels from the specialists, but no stabiliser bars. A little minimal.

The cover is pretty good though, although a green rather than clear.

The assembly instructions are one sheet and basically just how to connect the frame together. Still, pretty foolproof as each piece is labelled. I’ve no doubt it will go together easily enough and then it’s just a matter of putting the cover over.

It’s a one piece job with built in roll-up vents and roll-up zippered doors. So no ‘construction’ work to do.

My only concern is that the style would be fine on a solid surface (the base of the steel supports have plastic feet covers) but not on soft soil. Also there’s no instruction for anchoring the structure.

I’ve seen entire glass greenhouses lifted by the wind and tossed in pieces onto the next plot. The plastic polytunnel is far lighter, only 30Kg including everything! I think I’ll need to provide slabs under the feet, ensuring they’re square and level, before setting the tunnel up.

There appears to be enough skirt on the base of the cover to either bury in a trench or hold down with battens of wood, perhaps fence posts, fixed to the ground. Remember the problem is it taking off in a strong wind.

So overall here’s my conclusion. It’s a fabulous deal. Not the same quality as the tunnels five times the price but still excellent value for money. You need to be a bit more creative about how you set it up and fix it but for £750 I can do that!


Please note this is an old post, prices have changed and we’ve moved to a windswept hillside in Snowdonia. That style of polytunnel just wouldn’t survive here. I’ve now got a larger, professional tunnel that can laugh at 80mph winds. You can see more on it here: My New Polytunnel

January 2017


 

Posted in Tools & Stuff
36 comments on “I’ve Bought a Polytunnel!
  1. IRIS ROONEY says:

    Hi John, I bought one of these polytunnels, a 2m x 3m one. I asked the seller how to weigh it down and they said with bricks. I put the tunnel up on a flat paved surface, weighed down with plenty of bricks and I added shingle too. I went out to my plot this morning fully expecting the tunnel to have moved or even fallen over in the wind and need to be righted. instead the tunnel had taken off like a kite, blown over 3 other plots (about 150m) and had only been stopped by the high hedge around the allotment site. It had been totally destroyed and is now only fit for the dump. Worse still was how shocked I felt about how much worse the situation could have been. If the hedge had not stopped the tunnel it could have blown onto a busy road and caused a horrible accident. As far as I could tell this morning no other damaged has been caused but clearly it could easily have smashed into a greenhouse or shed and caused problems to crops. I have emailed the company and suggested the tunnel should be removed from sale, as it does not work as a polytunnel but is also dangerous.

  2. John says:

    Well I went into some detail above about the problem of it taking off in a strong wind and from your post you obviously knew you hadn’t really fixed it properly as you expected it to have moved in the wind.
    I’ve seen glass greenhouses blown over 2 plots and they’re heavier by far.
    It’s cheap and cheerful and you need to do some extra work to fix it but even if you paid £700 for a top of the range polytunnel you would still have to fix it properly. Pays your money and takes your choice.

  3. Lionel Randell says:

    I too bought one of these polytunnels and when i looked at it i thought to myself that this will need good anchoring. I assembled the thing and put soil on the flaps and thought now move you terror. The very first high wind we had i too had to retrieve it from 3 plots down, It was a little bent but i reassembled it somewhat differently. I had some plastic water pipe and cut off lengths that would go over the ground supports. These were pushed into the ground and the frame was fitted with the cover,i then used the same pipe to create hoops right over the thing and they were pushed into the ground as far as i could. 3 hoops hold the cover in place now and soil on the flaps. I fashioned two guide lines to prevent the whole thing from lifting.I did this last May 2009 and its still in place. Its battered but still an acceptable polytunnel to look at. Its stood all this winter and ive used some clear doublesided tape to repair a few squares that have popped out. You only get what you pay for so make sure you spend time securing the thing. I think it will last another two seasons. They are quite cheap and it also gives some incentive to move the thing. The ad’s do say temporary.A happy poly tunnel owner

  4. Maria says:

    I bought one of these last year and buried some off cuts of plastic pipe to take the legs, drilled holes in the pipes and wired the legs down. I also buried the skirt, and it withstood the wind no problem. But the weight of the snow we recently had buckled the curved part of the frame.
    Lionel, what size pipe did you use to repair yours? I was thinking of doing something similar.

  5. tyler says:

    i bought the same greenhouse from Ebay and constructed it in my field the wind is high up here but if you go to your local hardware store you can get 2 inch thick pieces of wood about 1 metre long. I got 4 pieces and hammered them inside the corners of the poly tunnel and it works really well sometimes use your imagination

  6. Thomas Elsby says:

    I have bought a polytunnel 4.5m x 2m. Whilst awaiting its arrival, I am reading all I can about methods of making it secure in the wind. I have found some of the suggestions very helpful. The proof of the pudding will be in the assembling and securing thereof.

  7. kingston boy says:

    I have a poly tunnel that WILL NOT move. NOW!!!!!!. The first time I put the tunnel up, as stated elsewhere,it did its ‘I’m off to another plot’. I retrieved it from 3 plots down and went to war with it. I managed to get hold of some concrete supports for Herras fencing each weighs about 10 kg. They were dug into the ground and the tunnel frame was rested in the holes. To prevent the frame lifting I used wooden stakes to hold frame and support tightly together without bending anything. I then used some tent poles that were donated to the cause and secured then to the middle supports horizontally.Each corner had another stake driven into the ground which was secured to the uprights. To finish off I had a galvanized frame that had 2 eyes on the corners. I cut this in half and drove that into the ground about 18″ and tied some pretty blue rope to the top hoops. Overkill I know but in the last few days we have had some horrendous wind and rain and the tunnel did not move one bit. Now I’m happy to play in my tunnel knowing it will still be there tomorrow.

  8. Robin Hancock says:

    A picture is worth a thousand words, let’s have some sketches chaps, I’ve just got to buy one of these if they have’nt sold out.

  9. Robin Hancock says:

    Sorry to sound ignorant about these matters but does the green tint have any advantages/disadvantages compared with clear ?

  10. Poky says:

    Its the plastic that takes off in high wind. If you secure that and the door ends so they can be shut securely, the frame won’t move. Anchoring the frame to Australia is not required if the cover is secure. The frame is taken away because it’s attached to the cover at the ends. Once the cover is loose, and flapping about, it will be off. You should try to cover the frame on a hot day. Then the plastic will be more flexible and will have expanded slightly. When it cools it will be taut. Dont recover in the winter.

  11. andy says:

    I am also thinking of getting a poly tunnel. My idea is to get some storm straps from the camping shop. These are sprung ground anchors that allow enough movement to prevent damage but still secure the “tent”

  12. richard says:

    I bought one of the poly tunnels for my allotment and just covered the flap at the bottom with alot of soil it has’nt moved yet in quite some time since i have had it.
    Richard.

  13. David Hunter says:

    I think that the best way to anchor the cover is to dig a trench all round the sides and back-fill with soil once the cover is in place. My soil on the allotment is heavy clay which helps and my own kit came with some metal pipes closed at one end so that they could be driven into the ground with a hammer and a block of wood.
    Bernard Salt’s book Gardening under Plastic is worth reading. I met him on the odd occasion when he worked at the Botanical Gardens in Birmingham and he used to give some interesting lectures there and i attended his retirement ceremony. He recalled that on the day he left school the Headmaster told him that he should be able to find something better than gardening to do but after a lifetime of it Bernard could not suggest anything better.
    David.

  14. Phil says:

    I purchased the same size 6×3 a couple of months ago, good price, if you want to spend a 1000 euro plus and still have the plastic ripped worn etc, you can, these tunnels offer a cheaper solution for the non commercial grower, I have anchored mine down using 2×3 timber and posts in the ground, now considering I live in the west of Ireland it can get a bit breezy at times (I have seen mobile home roofs just peeled of in the winds) and yes I am also a stockist for them in Ireland. There are pictures on my website of how I constructed mine http://www.gardenplantsbypost.com I believe that these offer value for money in the current times for some one wanting a polytunnel but who can’t afford to pay a lot of money
    Phil

  15. john says:

    I’ve bought one and think they are great value for money. All I can say is you wouldn’t put a couple of bricks around your tent and expect it to stay there. I’ve put 2 slings over mine – one at the front, one at the back attached to stakes that I’ve driven into the ground. It’s never moved.

  16. Cecile Ardouin says:

    I bought one of these polytunnels in October 2009 and put it up in February 2010. I simply dug a trench for the skirt and filled that up with soil, and made sure the doors were zipped. I’ve had no problem with the wind whatsoever, but just like another person commented, the weight of the snow was to much for the flimsy frame, which rusted and broke at every possible angle. Now, I wonder if I should buy another one and make sure I clear off the snow as soon as a snowflake drops? Will the frame rust and collapse all the same in a couple of years? Anyone has had one of these polytunnels more than 3 years?

  17. Steve Cole says:

    I purchased a 2m x 3m polytunnel last week that looks very much like the pictures shown. I dug a trench for the surplus cover (even though there were no instructions on how to secure it) and placed slabs over the soil covering. It two trips to collect the slabs as my car could not take the weight in one go. I finished it on Friday and on Sunday morning found it some distance away in a field. Unfortunatly the frame was damaged beyond repair. I go camping often and would never put a tent up without using the guy ropes. Perhaps adding these to the design would be a good idea.

  18. John says:

    It all comes down to cost – it’s a cheap product that will do the job but you have to secure it properly. As I said, you can pay ten times the price for a polytunnel. You’ll get a better product for sure but even then you have to secure them properly.

  19. Michelle says:

    Did you need to get PP for these to be put on the land? If not is there a minimum area of land you need to have before you can put one up?

  20. Paul Hyde says:

    I also have bought one of these, although not the best quality steel, after the first day, winds howled and steel buckled and broke at the joints, 3 have broken, I will have to insert a piece of tubing into broken sections, it may last this year with a bit of luck, then I will remove frame and replace it with the blue water plastic pipe, you have a template for tubing by using frame,you can buy the fitments for attaching plastic to bottom of tube and edging it onto wooden boards, to create box section for tunnel to sit in. well thats my idea any comments are welcome thanks. Paul.

  21. Lizziewel says:

    After spending this weekend putting up a 4.5mtr version of one of these I thought I might add my method to the mix.

    I staked mine tying the struts with cable ties to some off cuts of timber spare from a friend’s loft conversion aprox 2″x2″ & 3 foot long after setting them with postcrete in small buckets scrounged off local chip shops and kebab houses. The sort that mayonnaise and curry sauce come in. The pots are sunk into the ground with the legs in them, the legs have been pushed into the ground and the skirts are trenched and back filled in. The overall construction seems to be solid. I even finished it off surrounding it with the Daffodil bulbs that were disturbed from the ground clearance!

    It was more than warm in there today and so far a small fig tree has taken up residence.

    Reading all of the above I have my fingers crossed.

  22. Elaine Mullen says:

    we bought one of these hobby tunnels with the intention of using it as a fruit cage, as we thought it was too light to cover on our exposed site. but his year we put the cover on. as predicted it took off so we made anchors from folded rebar set into flower buckets Rebar from steel stck holderd and bent by them (8 cost £5.00) and flower buckets from morrissons 99p for 10.in the nexh high winds the frame stayed put but the cover lifted. solution was to use all weather tape to fix the cover to the frame and it hasn’t moved since. the door being zipped is not wonderfull and has ripped at the edge. We are impressed by how well things grow so we are looking at getting a proper tunnel next year.

  23. Kevin Wallace says:

    Just to add, i also bought one two years ago now and used the screw type dog lead anchors that you can buy in places like Wilkos or pet shops. Screwed down one in each corner and the frame tied to them and two more in the sides with connecting tubes going through them. Absolutely rock solid. I am not sure what instructions came with the previous commenters but mine said to bury the bottom rails and cover the side flaps with stones then earth, also suggested using tie ropes over the polytunnel to help.

    As for how they wear, one zip has failed on one side, clips and straps have dropped off from the vents, tubes that are underground are rusting and the plastic covering is starting to harden up in exposed places.
    Overall for the £69 paid for it am more than happy.

    • Donnay says:

      @Kevin Wallace:

      Hi

      I have read your reply regarding securing your polytunnel with the dog stakes. Im thinking of getting on and I’m new to allotment growing. Can you explain what you tied the tunnel to the dog stake with.

      Sorry DIY and me not mix so don’t fully understand your reply but it looks a cheap solution.

  24. phillip says:

    Hi All
    i had one of the tunnels you are talking about, they are stronger than you think.
    i fixed mine on soil a 4ft post 1.5 inch x1.5 knocked in at each leg and then gaffa taped to frame. I dug a 1 ft trench all around .when I put the cover on I nailed 2 bits of wood all around the edge and back filed with the soil to hold it down.

    I am in a windy spot ! it was standing direct 90 mph winds until my shed roof blew off and landed on the tunnel. Good luck!

  25. TheSpartacat says:

    I got one of these 18 months ago. Dug a trench- pushed the poles into the soil a few inches, tucked the cover into the trench and covered with a decent amount of soil (slightly mounded)… then sowed grass over that soil to prevent erosion.
    We had shocking winds over christmas. Half the plotholders sheds are completely thrashed. My glass greenhouse blew off its base and ended up hald in the next plot.

    But my cheap plastic polytunnel has not moved!!!

    I’m going to get another one… i’m pretty impressed with its endurance through 2 Winters so far

  26. stuart watson says:

    i got a polytunnel for our alotment put it up dug a trence the first bit of wind it gone the frame work was to light we put it up acording to the instructions we payed £55.00 but it was dangerus and now we cannot get a replacement fram for it the company dosenot sell the frames we have to buy a new polytunnel from them just a way of makeing more money out of all us kean gardeners

  27. Eric says:

    I bought a 3m x 2m polytunnel from Warehouse24 in Feb 2010. Initially, I thought this was reasonably good value and I also understood from the instructions that the method of securing the polytunnel was not up to it so I dug pits at each corner, bought polyethylene straps (they won’t rot) and tied these under blocks of bricks located in each corner pit and then tied down to the frame, again at each corner. Since that time, we have had a few severe gales. Whilst the frame and plastic have never blown away, I have had to make several other adjustments (bricks on top of the lower side flaps plus earth on top for example).
    One of the opening vents has torn itself away from the velcro and also damaged the netting. However, the worst thing is that the door clips were not made from UV resistant plastic and all have snapped. This is a grave error in the design and most disappointing as I cannot tie the door flaps open. Not sure how long the polytunnel will last, perhaps another year or so but probably will not renew.

  28. graham lindley says:

    i have a similar product but not as big , its only 8ftx6ft , i got it in a factory shop sale , , i secured mine by building a frame from 2″x2″ treated timber , fixed this to 3×3 x 2ft fence posts set in concrete in buckets in each corner which were sunk in the ground , drill the 2×2 where the frame goes thro and bolt the frame to it , bury the skirt in a 1ft trench then using lengths of roofing lath sandwich the cover to the 2×2 around the base, as an added measure i used guy ropes internaly fixed to the 2×2 , as mine is a lot lighter and im at the lower end of our site where i catch all the wind im pleased to say its still standing after 2 years

  29. Dave Williams says:

    I believe that clear PVC will produce far superior results. The higher the proportion of green light falling upon the plants the lower the growth rates will be. Green is not a part of the spectrum that plants use.
    Oh to be back in the UK….where there is a decent growing season!

  30. bev harrison says:

    I made a raised bed from scaffold planks being 2m by4m.left a entry walkway in,bolted/fastened the frame to this.perfection,will last through storm or whatever…..

  31. Shiv says:

    I’ve bought a 3mX2m tunnel and have secured it to the ground with 6 dog tie out stakes (they cost £4 per pair on Amazon). To secure the frame to the stakes I’ve used cable ties and bungee cord. I’ve not buried the skirt.

    So far we’ve had 47mph winds and the tunnel has not moved from it’s anchors. The wind shakes it about a lot but it is not moving anywhere.

    One one occasion before adding the bungee, I had the door open for ventilation and a strong wind lifted the tunnel and broke the cable ties holding the frame to two of the stakes. Since then I’ve added bungee holding the middle rail of the fame to each anchor, and added many more cable ties. Also I don’t leave the door open when it is windy. All good so far. After reading this I will bury the skirt too.

  32. peter says:

    I have created 4 2.4 M x 1.2 M Raised beds within my 6 Metre x 3 Metre polytunnel.
    I then used Metal Electrical Saddle Clips (25mm) to secure the frame to the raised beds (100mm x 100mm posts)
    The whole thing is slightly off the ground, but the skirt is buried
    Just for good measure I criss crossed two four peg guy ropes over it for the winter
    Has not budged an inch
    As the lead poster said, you get what you pay for!

  33. Alexander Gibb says:

    Just got a polytunel been reading your comments thank you for your help looking forward to this years garden with my £80 polytunel
    Alex

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