Greenhouse or Polytunnel: Which Should I Go For?

Contributed Post

When you’re a newbie looking to get into gardening, you’ll find there’s more to it than you probably realized. It’s not just a case of planting some seeds and waiting for the magic to happen! To successfully grow in the garden takes planning and effort; different plants will require different types of care, and each season will pose its own separate issues. Grow houses such as greenhouses and polytunnels are a fantastic way to give plants a helping hand. And so if you’re serious about making your gardening a success here are the differences between each so you can make the best choice for you.

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Photo via Wikipedia

 

Greenhouse Vs Polytunnel- So What’s The Difference?

Essentially greenhouses and polytunnels provide the same function, and are used in the same way. They help plants which need a regulated climate to thrive, and stop less hardy plants from being killed by frost over the winter. They can also extend the growing season meaning you produce more crops during the year. Different levels of heat can be used in each, depending on the function and types of plants you’re looking to grow or protect. However a greenhouse is made of transparent glass, and a polytunnel is made out of plastic sheeting stretched over metal or wood arches. Both allow you to walk inside to tend to your plants.

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Photo via Wikipedia

 

What Are The Pros and Cons of Each?

There are pros and cons to using each of these, and so careful consideration is important. For example, a greenhouse will need to be built on a very flat, firm base where as a polytunnel is more forgiving and can accommodate slight slopes. Take a look at your garden and work out if the site you want to place your grow house is completely flat. The position of where you want to place the structure also matters, and is something to bear in mind if you want to get the very best results. A greenhouse is best placed east to west, in a spot that gets direct sunlight for two-thirds of the day. A polytunnel on the other hand is best positioned from north to south. This is beneficial for preventing wind damage on the plastic sheeting. Cost is also a driving force, especially if you’re new to gardening you might not want to spend excessive amounts on equipment right away. A polytunnel will be much cheaper to erect than a greenhouse. Although in the long term, the greenhouse will last longer and so offer more value for money. If it’s a hobby you’re looking to try for the first time, a less expensive polytunnel could be a good option- as on top of this they’re easy to put up yourself. Whereas greenhouses on the other hand are generally best left to the professionals to put together. These are all things to bear in mind when choosing your first greenhouse or polytunnel.

 

Which is Best For Me?

Carefully weigh up the pros and cons in order to decide which structure would be best for you. Ask yourself how much you’re looking to pay up front, and what kind of surface you have in your garden for it to sit on. While both will be effective and allow you to grow plants, what’s best for you will depend on a lot of different factors.

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