Poly Tunnel, Cold Frame or Greenhouse Panelized Kit

Poly Tunnel, Cold Frame or Greenhouse Panelized Kit

The November 2020 issue of House Beautiful just came, the Living Better Issue. I skipped to one of the cover articles, Sunlit Greenhouse.

If a bit of greenery is clinically proven to reduce stress, then everyone could stand to find room for a dedicated grow space. (Is it any surprise that there were more searches for “indoor garden” this past spring than ever before?)

Hadley Mendelsohn
We Grow Together
House Beautiful – November 2020

I was one of those searches. We have plenty of room for a garden, but the weather wasn’t ready yet and I was.

The article is short, just a couple of pages. She mentions full-size and small-scale options, from prefab and custom built greenhouses to turning a cozy corner into a therapeutic plant zone.

The photos show a repurposed garage or sunroom converted to a growing area with insulation, heating, double pane windows or UV-filtering film and a shade system.

A little A-frame greenhouse/playhouse was made with a simple frame and clear plastic panels.

She also shows a couple of plant stand ideas and mentions the advantages of a “compact hydroponic system that allows you to grow just about anything anywhere, without the mess of soil.”

This spring we were still waiting for a project to be finished (or started) in our back yard. We really couldn’t do anything back there until this was through. But now the project is well underway. Things have changed, and we are considering what we would really like to do with that area.

Polytunnel, Small Dole, England Photo by Steve Law, Brighton Plants Author of the four volumes or Fruition
Polytunnel, Small Dole, England
Photo by Steve Law, Brighton Plants
Author of the four volumes of Fruition

Poly Tunnels

In the Jimmy Perez, Sheland Island Mysteries by Ann Cleeves, they talked about Poly Tunnels. I had no idea what those were, so I googled them.

A polytunnel is a kind of an inexpensive greenhouse. It is covered with polyethylene. They are also called grow tunnels, hoop greenhouse, hoop-house…  I got very interested in these. We have plenty of space. They cost way less than a glass greenhouse.

Heat from the sun makes it stay warmer inside the poly tunnel; 9 to 27 degrees warmer than the outside air; so you can grow stuff all year round. The polytunnel can keep the temperature more consistent, too. They protect vegetables, even trees, from wind, snow, frost, heavy rain, sleet or hail.

If you put in vents, you can control the temperature and humidity. They also keep the bunnies and deer from eating the whole garden.

Polytunnel with Established Fruit Trees Jindalee, Hillside, Quarff, Shetland
Polytunnel with Established Fruit Trees
Jindalee, Hillside, Quarff, Shetland

Some poly tunnels are very simple. Others are more elaborate and established. This one is on a house for sale. You can buy it.

Buy a Shetland House with Polytunnel >

Polytunnel with Established Fruit Trees Jindalee, Hillside, Quarff, Shetland
Polytunnel with Established Fruit Trees
Jindalee, Hillside, Quarff, Shetland

The roof is made of fastened down clear plastic panels.

Polytunnel with Established Fruit Trees Jindalee, Hillside, Quarff, Shetland
Polytunnel with Established Fruit Trees
Jindalee, Hillside, Quarff, Shetland

The polytunnel has fruit trees.

Winter is long and runs from mid-November to mid-April, and it is cold but not freezing: the average temperature is a few degrees above freezing (0 °C or 32 °F). Wind and humidity, however, together with the lack of sunshine, exacerbate the sensation of cold. Owing to the latitude, the days are very short from November to January. Snowfalls are quite frequent, though not abundant. Cold winds of polar origin blow quite often…

Intense Atlantic depressions, which often occur in this area, can bring gale-force winds, and cause sea storms.

The short spring, from mid-April to late May, is cold: the temperature remains low, and wintery periods are still possible, with snow showers, even in the first half of May.

Summer, from June to August, is very cool, humid and rainy, and sometimes windy… daytime temperatures approach 20 °C (68 °F), which might not even happen for a whole summer.

Autumn, from September to mid-November, is cloudy, rainy and windy, and it gets progressively colder.

www.climatestotravel.com/climate/scotland/shetland

Not great growing weather, but with these polytunnels, they grow everything!

Polytunnel with Established Fruit Trees Jindalee, Hillside, Quarff, Shetland
Polytunnel with Established Fruit Trees
Jindalee, Hillside, Quarff, Shetland
Giantex Wood Cold Frame
Giantex Wood Cold Frame

Cold Frame

When I changed out the windows in the log cabin, a neighbor took the old windows to build cold frames. She did it very simply. She laid landscape timbers down, then attached the windows by hinges and added a support to one side.

She only used them to start seeds early. She piled them beside the garage the rest of the year.

I honestly didn’t examine them too closely. She has since sold the house and the new owners have a high privacy fence. Perhaps when this pandemic is settled, I can go knock on the door and ask to see.

Exaco Year Round Cold Frame
Exaco Year Round Cold Frame

I found these on Amazon. Perhaps this would get it out of my system without a huge investment.


Greenhouse made with A&A Green Store UV Resistant Clear Polyethylene Film Greenhouse Plastic
Greenhouse made with A&A Green Store UV Resistant Clear Polyethylene Film Greenhouse Plastic

Greenhouse made with Plastic Sheeting

You can frame the walls, and then cover it with plastic sheeting. This doesn’t look like it would cost too much.

A&A Green Store Polyethylene Film on Amazon >

Exaco Trading Company Victorian Orangery Greenhouse
Exaco Trading Company Victorian Orangery Greenhouse

Orangery Greenhouse

I’ve come across orangeries in books, too. An orangery is a greenhouse or glasshouse that allowed Victorians to grow citrus and other tropical trees in the cold damp environment that would not otherwise support them. You can find kits to build your own out of metal and glass.

Don’t you love the looks of this?

Exaco Trading Company Victorian Greenhouses on Amazon >

Little Cottage Co. Greenhouse Panelized Kit
Little Cottage Co. Panelized 8′ x 12′ Colonial Gable Greenhouse Kit

Little Cottage Co. Panelized Greenhouse Kits

I love this company. I have not actually bought anything from them, but I have spent hours looking at their kits. When I was looking at chicken coops, I saw that Little Cottage Co. now has Greenhouse Kits.

Little Cottage Co. Greenhouse Panelized Kit
Little Cottage Co. 8′ x 8′ Petite Greenhouse Panelized Kit

This is the smallest one, the 8′ x 8′ Petite Greenhouse Panelized Kit.

Colonial Gable Greenhouse Kits comes in 8×8, 8×12, 8×16, 10×12, 10×14 or 10×16.

This would keep the deer out!

Little Cottage Co. Greenhouse Panelized Kit
Little Cottage Co. Greenhouse Panelized Kit

They are shipped in panels. Most of the construction is already done.

Little Cottage Co. Greenhouse Panelized Kit
Little Cottage Co. Greenhouse Panelized Kit

The walls are high, with plenty of windows.

Little Cottage Co. Greenhouse Panelized Kit
Little Cottage Co. Greenhouse Panelized Kit

Most of the windows open, so you can regulate the temperature.

Little Cottage Co. Greenhouse Panelized Kit
Little Cottage Co. Greenhouse Panelized Kit

The roof is made of ribbed plastic material to let the light in.

Little Cottage Co. Greenhouse Panelized Kit
Little Cottage Co. Greenhouse Panelized Kit

This is the front. The front has a dutch door. There is a decorative vent at the top.

Little Cottage Co. Greenhouse Panelized Kit
Little Cottage Co. Greenhouse Panelized Kit

Inside there are shelves on three walls.

Little Cottage Co. Greenhouse Panelized Kit
Little Cottage Co. Greenhouse Panelized Kit

It also comes with rods to hang plants from. Plenty of light comes in through the clear roof panels.

No decisions. Just starting researching, thinking about it and talking about it.


Featured Image: Greenhouse made with A&A Green Store UV Resistant Clear Polyethylene Film Greenhouse Plastic