Discussion in 'Plants: Science and Cultivation' started by GardAns, Jun 18, 2018.

  1. GardAns

    GardAns New Member

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    Hello friends! When I was surfing the Internet I came across the topic of green houses, polytunnels and hot-beds. Which one is the best? What do you think? I would like to have one of them in my garden; however, I don't know which one is the best. Plants that I would like to grow are some veggies like tomatoes, cucumbers etc. and also fruits like strawberries. I don't want a big one, but one that will be sufficient for me.
  2. vitog

    vitog Well-Known Member

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    Burnaby, Canada
    I use polytunnels (cloches) a lot to give many different vegetables an early start to the season. They are the least expensive and easiest to use option. A greenhouse will extend your season even more, but it will be more expensive and require a lot of maintenance. I think that the biggest problem with a greenhouse is that the soil will become more prone to disease if you grow the same crops in it year after year. The only way to avoid this is to change the crops, change the soil, or move the greenhouse. Cloches can be rotated every year along with the crops under them. I haven't tried using hot beds, but they seem to require more effort than cloches.

    The only real problem that I've encountered with polytunnels is that you have to open them up on warm days in spring, or you will cook the plants. I avoid this problem to some extent by switching the tunnel cover from a polyethylene sheet to a woven fabric (floating) row cover after it warms up sufficiently in the spring. The floating row cover also allows rain or sprinkler water to penetrate, starting at about the time that the plants in the tunnel first need to be watered. I find that watering is not required during February and March, because the plants are growing slowly and the soil was saturated by winter rains at the start. Of course, you can use the floating row covers from the beginning, but they do not provide as much heat retention as the poly sheets.

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