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Any preference to suggestions??

Discussion in 'Poly-Tunnel Gardening' started by Jimb0b, Sep 10, 2017.

  1. Jimb0b

    Jimb0b Gardener

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    hi all, going to get a polytunnel soon, and I was just wondering what to do inside.

    Should I dig it up and plant direct into the ground or do raised beds (any other options?)

    Which would be best and has anyone tried both?

    Cheers, James
     
  2. Marley Farley

    Marley Farley Affable Admin! Staff Member

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    Well I plant direct, but my friend has raised beds, but has actually lost a fair bit of planting area with paths.. That has to be the way for him as partially disabled.. My tunnel is 27'long x 15'wide and I use all my growing space.. It is a personal thing I think and also what you are going to be growing..
    I will probably put a raised bed or two in, in time but not yet..:SUNsmile:
     
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    • Steve R

      Steve R Soil Furtler

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      Mine is a similar size to Marley's and I plant directly into the ground, although the planting arean is surrounded by a raised bed.

      I've done this because digging it over always raises the level and in years to come the soil level will rise further as I add layers of manure to the soil.

      So my answer is "do both".

      Steve...:)
       
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      • Scrungee

        Scrungee Well known for it

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        All my tunnels (up to 3 x 6m) are located in sloping ground so I've had to have raised beds, otherwise I would've had to strip the topsoil over the footprint of the tunnel, re-grade the subsoil, dispose of surplus subsoil, spread the topsoil back, and then re-grade around the external perimeter.

        This is a long section through a typical tunnel location:

        polytunnel section.JPG


        I have approximately 200mm of clayey topsoil over solid clay subsoil and started excavating for a central path with the finished level flush with the existing ground level at each end of the tunnel. I used 125mm ex-decking boards for edging around the borders either side enabling me to maintain the existing 200mm minimum topsoil depth.

        Topsoil from where that central path was excavated was added to the borders. I also removed additional topsoil from the path location and made the levels back up with clay subsoil from post/anchoring straps foundation holes. Topsoil from planting holes filled with MPC, etc. provided additional topsoil.

        End result:

        polytunnel borders.jpg
         
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          Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
        • Tetters

          Tetters Total Gardener

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          @Jimb0b it all depends on what you want to grow in your tunnels. When I had my four tunnels, one was for stock plants which were in the ground, one had a secondary tunnel system inside with heated beds and a misting system for the cuttings to root, and the other two were for hardening off, and (some) potted on stuff. I grew shrubs, trees and climbers.
          What do you intend to grow in your tunnels ??:planting:
           
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          • Scrungee

            Scrungee Well known for it

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            Another option is to have demountable staging over your borders so you can be bringing plants on up there earlier in the season, and then when they get planted out in open ground stuff like tomatoes can be planted in the borders below when the staging panels get removed (or even planted a little bit before).

            I've done that by installing parallel timber batten rails attached to the tunnel tubes ones side and along those raking bracing struts shown in pic above the other side. Short (600 - 750mm) sections of slatted staging can then be placed to sit resting on the rails, and be added/removed individually as plants are removed/added above/below.

            In my first tunnel I had narrow (seed tray width) high level staging that was ideal for germinating seeds requiring that extra bit of warmth higher up, plus they were well out of the way of mice that would eat pea/bean/etc. seeds. Being so narrow I didn't bother making it removable.
             
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            • Jimb0b

              Jimb0b Gardener

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              Hi Tetters, the "plan" is... starting from the bottom furthest away from the door..

              Grapes the chap next to me has them and will help and advise with them, these will permanent

              Then swappable veg, like lettuce, cucumbers , tomatoes , chillies peppers for summer
              Then move to winter veg to provide protection for them.

              Also with an area with a bit of shelving for seeds cuttings etc..

              Thanks for all the suggestions so far

              James
               
              Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
            • Tetters

              Tetters Total Gardener

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              I think the advice from Scrungee is excellent :blue thumb: For vegetable crops and grapes I think planting directly in the ground is probably best, but the narrow and removeable shelving is a brilliant plan.
              I did try once with staging and planting under - but it cut the light out and the staging ended up outside :embarrassed:
               
            • Marley Farley

              Marley Farley Affable Admin! Staff Member

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              @Jimb0b if you are going to set a grapevine up they always say to plant the roots outside the tunnel or greenhouse then bring the plant inside to grow, either under the tunnel or make a small opening it for it.. (Well unless the root stock isn't hardy)
              I know the Victorians always planted the roots outside and brought the vines inside usually at ground level for indoor growing and training.. I had one planted like that for many years and had lovely grapes from it.. Sadly no more..
               
            • Steve R

              Steve R Soil Furtler

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              I have a Grape growing in mine, planted around April this year as a 18 inch stick, look at it now!

              I was going to do as Marley suggested but planted inside instead, as you can see..that soil remains damp even in the hottest/driest weather.

              grape.jpg

              You can also see my beds, just 6 inches high with the dug over soil just a little way up it So just a contained bed so far.

              Steve...:)
               
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                Last edited: Sep 14, 2017
              • Jimb0b

                Jimb0b Gardener

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                Thanks Steve what you have done with the grapes is kind of what I have in mind right on the edge of the polly tunnel so the roots can spread both inside and out

                James
                 

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