After choosing the frame and cover, it’s time to decide which polytunnel accessories to add. Over time, investment in additional polytunnel accessories brings significant benefits and facilitates crop cultivation. Not all tunnels are modular structures that can be easily improved. Therefore, at the stage of selection and purchase, you should check whether the construction is suitable for modification.
How to ventilate the foil tunnel?
Fans, side vents, roof openings or other ventilation systems are one of the most important features for polytunnels. They provide air flow inside the facility. Renewing air is not only comfortable for plants, but also for growers. Stale air in the tunnel can be a nuisance. Before work begins, ventilation devices are deployed to refresh the interior. Good ventilation contributes to lower humidity, helps control pests, avoid fungal diseases and mold growth, and facilitates self-pollination. In the case of small greenhouses, ventilation can be obtained with open doors on opposite sides of the tunnel. Sides openings, which are opened and closed manually or mechanically (with the help of a crank) are a more optimal solution . Professional constructions can be equipped with several systems simultaneously: roof, side, walls and many other variants.
How do you remove excess heat from your garden greenhouse?
The tunnel cover is a layer of material with different consistency and properties placed on the frame. As temperature of soil and air increases, the heat can reach a critical level if it lasts too long. No worry! To stabilize the absorption through the sun’s rays and avoid overheating, you can supplement the tunnel with shading screens or nets.
The film or cover provided with a shading layer allows the inside temperature to rise gradually. It is then much easier to create optimal conditions, meaning you can grow plants without additional equipment.
Polytunnel in windy locations
Location of foil tunnels can be different. One could be exposed to strong winds, another one to intense rain or other factors. There are several ways to strengthen the structure. Stabilizing anchors can either be screwed into the ground or embedded in concrete, the tunnel can be supported with special straps fastened to the ground, and the structure reinforced with a truss connected to arches and main posts. All this makes sense if the tunnel is placed in mountainous terrain, close to the sea, at the top of a hill. There, the structure will have to cope with really difficult conditions.
How do you heat a polytunnel?
The topic of heating garden tunnels could be developed into a multi-page study. There are many options and devices on the market that are more or less economical and effective. It is very easy to get lost in such a wide assortment. When buying a heater, you should be guided by several factors:
- price – some heaters are pricy, others are more affordable. But it is essential to opt for a the heating system that operates on a long term basis.
- fuel costs – fuel costs have to be limited , otherwise it will impact excessively on the end product.
- compatibility – what if the heater proves to be good and the cost of fuel affordable, but the device can not be fitted to the construction? That is why it is worth buying a heating system supplied with the tunnel or invest in one that allows for later modernization.
- installation – the more complicated the heating, the greater the cost of the installation. If it is not a DIY system , the cost of installation must be added to the price.
With a gardening greenhouse, the growing season is extended by additional weeks. If you want to grow plants all year round, you can not proceed without investing in heating. For many hobby gardeners and as the cold months impose a lack of activity, this is a tempting proposition. It gives them the opportunity to grow plants and harvest vegetables and fruits at any time of the year .
Artificial lighting of crops under cover
Artificial lighting is useful if the greenhouse is to operate all year round. Underexposed plants will grow, of course, but much slower. Artificial lighting enables optimal condition for vegetables and fruits to support their growth. For gardeners cultivating in sunny areas, lighting is optional. For those who have a short growing season, it is often the only way to achieve a good results.
Artificial lighting of crops during dark and rainy days accelerates flowering and fruiting, and the fruits tend to be more colorful and juicy. Installation a lighting device can be done independently. If it is to interact with the irrigation system , it must be watertight. Therefore, at the design stage it is worth consulting professional advice or spending money with a guaranteed system.
Many other tunnel accessories are designed to improve conditions for plants and make the gardener’s life much more comfortable. Capillary watering system, automatic sprayers , fogging devices, cultivating tables, flower pots and hydroponic frames are just a few of the options available. Along with the experience gained and the growing crops, the savings , resulting from the harvest, will open the possibilities of further investment in the greenhouse. Every cent spent on crops under cover will be returned many times. It will even allow you to get what money can not buy – HEALTH.