Durin' the sprin' o' 2013 we erected our "see if we get on wi' it" cheap polytunnel an' we 'ad a reasonable crop from it.
The only worry were bein' durability - the frame were bein' solid enough but the cover's stitch-work left a lot t' be desired, an' one o' the window-flap's zips 'ad gone a knacker within a couple o' weeks.
Sure enough, it di'nae survive t' see this sprin'. One windy day in December totalled the thing within an hour:
We needed somethin' better. We considered traditional framed jobbies but rejected 'em on the grounds o' vulnerability - I di'nae fancy the prospect o' havin' t' replace glass or plastic panes after they'd been speared by twigs an' branches from the nearby Salix babylonica. Proper polytunnels were considered but the site be unsuitable fer trenchin'-in the edges o' the single polythene sheet coverin'.
In the end, after much "back-o'-a-fag-packet" doodlin', we settled on a hybrid design o' five separate timber-frame panels covered wi' polytunnel-grade sheetin'. Any one o' the five panels can be removed fer repair, an' we can slip in simple extension panels if SWMBO decides that 3m x 2m isn't enough - the roof panel be oversize so we could go up t' 3.5m x 2m if instructed, by Blackbeard's sword. FWIW, I'm nae plannin' t' extend the height - IMO 2.2m at the lowest point be quite enough.
It took me an' Chris (our helpful o'er-the-sea neighbour) about a week t' cut an' creosote the timber an' fabricate the frames, an' another week t' cover, staple an' tape 'em. After that, the final assembly were bein' a doddle.
It's been up an' runnin' fer a couple o' weeks now, the only thing still on the t' do list be the gutterin'/downpipe/water-butt system. We've already got a list o' possible future improvements (deckin', trickle-waterin', polycarb roofin') but that lot can wait until after the runnin'-in period has exposed any unforeseen flaws.
It won't win any prizes fer elegance but functionally 'tis excellent an' maintenance should be a breeze.
You'll be wantin' some etchins, I suppose?
Now I suppose I'll have t' sort out the rest o' the garden
Oh, an' just in case ye were wonderin' about costs...
- 3x2 timber fer frames ~£100
- Misc. Yo Ho Ho! timber fer windows etc, we'll keel-haul ye! ~£20
- Deckin' screws ~£10
- Polythene sheetin' ~£50 (enough in reserve fer a full panel re-cover)
- Mesh fer windows ~£10
- Tape fer edges ~£15 (plenty in reserve fer minor repairs)
- Misc. fittin's ~£20
- Auto-vent gadget ~£20
- Gutterin', staples, screws, door-bolt an' a neat wooden monogram plaque - donated by Chris
- Help from Chris - free an' invaluable, I can't thank that scurvey dog enough