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 Post subject: Andrew In Manchester, UK
PostPosted: Jul 29th, '09, 16:35 
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OK, we're finally in our new house, so now it's time to make this a reality - time to move my plans from the Intro section (see them here) to the real Members systems section.

I feel like it's my first day at Big School :lol:

I know y'all love pictures, so here's the first one:
Image

This is the first step - marking out how much of the garden the polytunnel will take up. So here it is – with a nice colourful post at each corner. The photo is taken facing due west, along the long axis of the polytunnel, which is 14′x28′ (or about 4.2m x 8.5m).

It'll fit - now I just have to bite the bullet and buy it!

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PostPosted: Jul 29th, '09, 18:00 
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Hi Andrew
Thats a good sized tunnel, it looks like you have a nice flat site to work with..a big plus :wink:
The hedge to the right looks pretty close although it could be an optical illusion.
If finances allow you might consider using a double skin cover, with our weather it`d pay for itself in a couple of years. Most uk polytunnel manufacturers don`t offer it as an option but all you`d need is a second cover and a small blower.


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PostPosted: Jul 29th, '09, 18:10 
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Hex wrote:
Hi Andrew
Thats a good sized tunnel, it looks like you have a nice flat site to work with..a big plus :wink:
The hedge to the right looks pretty close although it could be an optical illusion.
If finances allow you might consider using a double skin cover, with our weather it`d pay for itself in a couple of years. Most uk polytunnel manufacturers don`t offer it as an option but all you`d need is a second cover and a small blower.


Hi there Hex - the hedge on the right is actually a shed :D I'm going to be taking the ivy off it at some point! It's a 1m gap on the right hand side, and about the same at the back. The plot widens considerably on the left hand side so lots of space there.

Tell me more about the double-skin cover! is it something that you permanently fix, or is it "inflated" by a continuous blower?

Very interested - although also paranoid that I might "cook" the fish if the sun ever comes out again and I have over-insulated!

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PostPosted: Jul 29th, '09, 18:49 
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Thats a well camoflaged shed mate.
You don`t have to worry about being over insulated in the uk as summer only lasts about a week :wink: Double poly is common everywhere in the world except here..no surprise there.
All it takes is a second cover (maybe £85 ish) and a small blower (12v dc @ £25 or 240v @ £40).
The inflation will extend the life of the cover and you wouldnt have the expense or hassle of needing any naff looking bubblewrap everyone else is using :mrgreen:


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PostPosted: Jul 29th, '09, 18:56 
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Have you got any links there Hex?

Quite interested in this - a bit new to the polytunnel game, so not really sure how to make the best out of the extended growing season yet. I do remember WD saying that they had problems keeping their tunnel cool enough in summer. Although maybe that was just for a week :lol:

I also want to watch the power consumption/productivity relationship - so it'd have to have a good increase in yield to offset the blower running costs.

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PostPosted: Jul 29th, '09, 20:01 
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You could use solar energy to power it if you make a few mods which would negate most of the running costs and extend the life of the blower.
The tunnel would need to use ground rails to fix the poly to and ideally some ali-trap extrusion for the the end hoops which effectively isolates the end covers from the main arch cover..bonus with ali-trap is theres no pleating malarky to worry about :wink:
I worked out uv stabilized bubblewrap would probably cost around £104 to cover the main arch of a tunnel the size of yours and it wouldn`t last as long as hort poly.
The cheapest poly supplier i know of is www.polytheneone.com, but I dare say your tunnel supplier would do you a good deal if you bought it with an additional cover.


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PostPosted: Jul 29th, '09, 20:16 
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Doh..forgot the link..here`s the blower mod. You can use a 240v blower or a 12v blower,solar panel and a leisure battery combo to inflate the cover. The mod allows the blower to run only when the pressure drops rather than having to run 24/7.
http://www.sunnyjohn.com/photos/devices ... /index.htm

My pillows use a similar approach..24/7 wouldn`t that cost much to run but its still wasteful :D


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PostPosted: Jul 29th, '09, 22:05 
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Thanks Hex - looks fascinating! Not sure I can get my head round it at the mo - how hard would it be to retrofit to an existing polytunnel with ground rails and normal "folded" ends?

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PostPosted: Jul 29th, '09, 22:18 
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Andrew,, be VERY carefull about anything Solar powered ,,usually over rated under powered expensive crud.
Passive solar for your poly-tunnel is definately worth looking at . Did I already post the link?? It says have many cubic feet of water should be stored in a hothouse with a square feet area of .....,

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PostPosted: Jul 29th, '09, 22:27 
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Chappo wrote:
Andrew,, be VERY carefull about anything Solar powered ,,usually over rated under powered expensive crud.
Passive solar for your poly-tunnel is definately worth looking at . Did I already post the link?? It says have many cubic feet of water should be stored in a hothouse with a square feet area of .....,


Don't think I've seen that link Chappo - would be very interested if you can find it.

If we go solar it'll be off the main solar panels we'll be putting on the roof, so avoiding a lot of the cheap crud hopefully!

And, just to illuminate further, here is another shot of the spot where the polytunnel is going. This one taken facing to the South West:
Image

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PostPosted: Jul 29th, '09, 22:39 
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Beautiful land ,, makes you wonder why the Aussies volunteered to be transported ,, BUT then you think snow/ grey / rain //grey / sleet ..

I'd actually LOVE to see the Mother country one day ..... I'll be looken up da north ,, McKay clan.

I'll hunt down that lin k about hot-house passive heating ,, really good . It actually tests Chinese know-how for hundfreds of years ,, refines and calculates it:)

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PostPosted: Jul 29th, '09, 23:32 
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You could retrofit a second skin at a later date without any great problems.
If you added it after a couple of years, the inner skin (original poly) may be a bit worn/dirty by then so it`d probably be better to wait until you need to replace the covering.


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PostPosted: Aug 3rd, '09, 22:23 
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Andrew, I found that link about passive solar heating ,, very worth the time to read.
http://www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/resear ... 4-534.html

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PostPosted: Aug 3rd, '09, 22:27 
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Thanks Chappo, I'll have a look

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PostPosted: Aug 5th, '09, 03:44 
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Andrew, I found that link about passive solar heating


Good one Chappo, I've bookmarked it.

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