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May 25

A Guide to Polytunnels: Are They Environmentally Friendly?

polytunnelsIf you enjoy growing your own food, or perhaps aspire to be more self-sufficient, you may be wondering how to increase the amount of fruit and vegetables you harvest from your garden or allotment. You might have heard about polytunnels, but maybe you are unsure about what they do, or if they are worth the investment.

What are polytunnels?

Polytunnels are a tool used by farmers, large scale vegetable producers, and also individuals who wish to grow their own. Semi-circular in design, polytunnels come in a variety of shapes and sizes. However, larger polytunnels can be expensive and as such, are more commonly used for commercial purposes, as the profit from selling produce helps to offset the initial cost.

How do they work?

Polytunnels work by trapping warmth inside their structures and stopping it from escaping. helping plants to grow through the creation of an optimal atmosphere. They keep the internal environment at a constant, helping plants to grow faster and ensure quality produce.

Which type should I buy?

Companies like Premier Polytunnels offer several types of polytunnel, but it is important to note that they all use the same basic underlying structure. The type required is dependent upon budget, as well as the sort and amount of produce you are planning to grow.

There are regular polytunnels, a simple semi-circular construction with an entrance at either end; solar tunnels that have additional layers and thus offer better insulation; and panel tunnels, are that are a cross between a polytunnel and a traditional green house. In terms of affordability, regular polytunnels are the cheapest, while panel tunnels are the most expensive.

What are the advantages?

Polytunnels have gained something of a bad reputation, deemed by some as unsightly, with others concerned about their environmental impact. Although made out of plastic, the advantages of polytunnels far outweigh their negatives.

  • Produce can be grown for longer periods, even during colder months
  • Due to the warm environment produced inside a polytunnel, more exotic crops can be grown that would not survive outside, including melons and tomatoes
  • They also provide a better working space, allowing farmers and individuals to work in the warmth, rather than outside in the rain or heat

Polytunnels are a fantastic option for those interested in home-grown food, producing higher numbers of quality fruit and vegetables. Buy, put up your polytunnel, and start growing your own food, today!

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