InTheMarket.ie’s Guide to Polytunnels

Polytunnels are also referred to as high tunnels, hoop houses and polyhouses, but what exactly are they? Well you’ve come this far, so let’s get straight into it…

What is a Polytunnel?

A polytunnel typically comprises crop bars, galvanised steel hoops, a polythene cover and base rails, which collectively form a tunnel-like structure.

They are primarily used to grow fruit, flowers and vegetables, though there are instances where they’re used to house livestock and for general storage.

The polytunnel can be used to extend your growing season, achieved via solar technology heating the tunnel to create optimal growth conditions. You can consequently increase the variety of crops that you can grow, owing to the fact you’re no longer restricted by seasonal variations/climate.

Polytunnels were first introduced in the late 1960s, since becoming established as a popular option for growers of all shapes and sizes. They can be applied in various settings, whether you’re operating in a small garden/allotment or a commercial structure which spans acres of land.

Polytunnels are usually semi-circular, though recent variations include straight sides. These are often manufactured to allow for a full working height up to the inside edge of the polytunnel.

There have been countless improvements and modifications to polytunnels over the years, including the incorporation of high-performing steel for extra protection from corrosion. Innovations like these have fine tuned the experience, increasing the range of growing possibilities, which can be tailored to different circumstances.


What Concerns Should I Have When Purchasing a Polytunnel?

If you’ve never owned a polytunnel before, you’ll probably be wondering whether it will be capable of withstanding extreme weather conditions. Fortunately most polytunnel hoops can be spaced out accordingly.

That means that if you’re situated in a windy area, your polytunnel can be arranged to provide extra stability. You can also buy brace bar kits which can be added to increase durability and strength, meaning you can rest assured your polytunnel is stable.

Most high quality polytunnels are designed to withstand extreme weather conditions, it’s simply a case of shopping around for those which are most reliable. The price point and product descriptions are usually great indicators of what the polytunnel in question is capable of achieving.

When selecting a polytunnel to purchase, it’s important to ensure that you’re choosing a polytunnel which has been created using high quality materials. For example, the polytunnels we sell here at InTheMarket.ie are manufactured using a heavy duty 25mm gauge galvanised steel tube frame, this type of frame is considerably stronger and has better durability and longevity than most other polytunnel frames on the market. 

Our polytunnels also feature diagonal storm bracing bars, longitudinal roof bars, and full ground bars, providing a very sturdy base and structure for your polytunnel. If you opt to purchase a polytunnel of lower quality, without these extra features in place, then you could find yourself with a destroyed polytunnel at the first sign of high winds or harsh weather, so it’s a very important step to make sure that you choose a polytunnel of high quality.

Other concerns that you may have when choosing a polytunnel are to do with ventilation. Depending on what you are growing inside your polytunnel, you are going to need some sort of suitable ventilation. Our polytunnels all have either a large roll up window on the side, or multiple roll up windows on the side, allowing you to create the perfect environment for your crops, with adequate ventilation. 

The use of UV open on our polytunnels also provides natural UV levels to your crops, ensuring the very best environment for your crops or plants to thrive on. The integral fly net windows which come on our polytunnel range help to keep those pesky insects outside of your polytunnel and away from your plants.

What Size Polytunnel Do I Need?

The size of the polytunnel you need will largely be based on what you plan to grow, it depends entirely on you and your needs. You can always add additional hoops at a later date to accommodate more crops or plants, but generally speaking the bigger polytunnel you get, the better. If you have space available for a large polytunnel, then go large.

Even if the size you choose for a polytunnel seems large right now compared to a little greenhouse, once you get used to growing throughout the year, you will soon find that polytunnel space is a bit like kitchen storage space – regardless of how much you have, you always want a little bit more. 

Here at InTheMarket.ie we have polytunnels available in 4 different sizes, so whether you’re looking for something to fill a little spare space in your garden, or if you have a large amount of space and want a large polytunnel, we have you covered.

Our polytunnels come in the following sizes:

10ft x 7ft Polytunnel Pro – €149

13ft x 7ft Polytunnel Pro – €180

20ft x 10ft Polytunnel Pro – €270

20ft x 12ft Polytunnel Super Pro MD – €350

The 20ft x 12ft Super Pro MD Polytunnel has a straight wall high eaves design, which is different from most polytunnel designs. This particular design allows for a stand up working space across the entire width of the polytunnel, giving you more walk-in space and extra area for cultivation. 

How Can I Protect My Polytunnel?

Once you have your polytunnel, you are going to want to protect it. A high quality frame should last indefinitely if it is cared for properly, and your polytunnel cover should last for around 5 years before it needs replacing. 

You can help to protect your polytunnel by erecting it in an area where it gets some shelter from strong winds, for example, along the edge of a wall or building, or in a sheltered area. But, that’s not always possible.

One of the most important things you can do for your polytunnel is to use a polytunnel ground anchor kit to secure your polytunnel to the ground. These kits are available in our store for €15 and they make such an incredible difference. With the ground anchors secured to your polytunnel, you can be sure that your polytunnel is not going to take off during strong winds or harsh weather. These kits are inexpensive, and only take a few minutes to install, it’s not worth risking damage to your polytunnel through lack of a secure anchor kit.

It’s not only the harsh weather which can cause damage to your polytunnel though, the sun can cause a considerable amount of damage too.

When it’s hot and the sun is beaming down on your polytunnel, the polytunnel cover can end up binding to the steel frame in the extreme heat. By placing some of our hot spot tape along each of the polytunnel roof hoops, you can prevent this from happening, therefore increasing the life of your cover and preventing any unnecessary wear.

Just these two simple measures – the hot spot tape and the ground anchor kit – will go a long way in increasing the durability and longevity of your polytunnel, and both can be installed within a matter of minutes. If you don’t take these precautionary measures, you are asking for trouble and your polytunnel will not last as long as it could if well protected and looked after.

Wrapping Up…

Hopefully this guide has given you a good idea of what to expect from a polytunnel, and a better idea about what sort of size you need, and how to take care of your polytunnel to ensure longevity. 

We have a great range of polytunnels available to purchase in our online store, and as Ireland’s leading polytunnel specialists, we know everything there is to know about polytunnels, so feel free to get in touch with us if you have questions regarding a polytunnel, we are happy to help!

If you would like to view our polytunnel range in person, then you can use the “Book Appointment” link in the menu bar at the top of this page to contact us and if we have availability, we can arrange an appointment for you to come and see our range of polytunnels, giving you a better idea of the size and the quality of the materials used.

If you’re ready to purchase a polytunnel and know which one you want, then head on over to our polytunnels product page to make your choice and place your order today.

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