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best-polytunnel-for-an-allotment

The UK's bestAllotment Polytunnels2022 Review

What To Look For in a Allotment Polytunnels

If you want to use a polytunnel as a non-permanent greenhouse on the allotment, there are several great options on this page. If this is your intention, I’d recommend a polytunnel with an internal height of around 2m. This will give you space to move around inside. Naturally, the length and width will depend on the space you have available. 

Alternatively, if you’re looking for a low-level polytunnel to provide frost protection, a height of 1m will provide clearance for a variety of plants.

Regardless of polytunnel size, choose a frame made from galvanised steel. This is hardwearing and rust resistant, 

When it comes to fabric, clear polythene is great if you want to let a lot of light into your polytunnel. It provides greater transparency compared to coloured plastic fabric or fleece. Choose a fleece tunnel over polythene if you want plants to receive natural irrigation from the rain. 

To better protect plants from frost, look for polythene with an infrared additive. This traps heat, giving your plants a reprieve from the cold weather. But, whilst warm air can be a blessing, it may also be a curse – ensure that any highly-insulated polytunnels have air vents or windows to provide adequate ventilation. 

For shade-loving plants, choose white or green polythene. This lets less light in and provides a shadier environment.

Overall, I’ve chosen the large Birchtree Polytunnel as my top recommendation. This sizeable polytunnel measures 6 x 3 x 2m and is perfect for covering a veg patch or large flower bed. It has a galvanised steel frame and is made from green polythene plastic with lots of ventilation options. It is also reported to withstand strong winds up to 40 mph. 

Below, you’ll find reviews for some of the best polytunnels available for allotments.

What Are The UK's Best Polytunnels for Allotment?

IMAGE RECOMMENDED PRODUCTSPRODUCT FEATURES
best-polytunnels-for-allotment Birchtree Polytunnel (6 x 3 x 2 m)
  • Protects plants from extreme temperatures
  • Very easy to assemble
  • Good ventilation
best-polytunnels-for-allotment Garden Point Green Polytunnel Greenhouse (2 x 2 x 2 m)
  • 6 breathable windows for ventilation
  • Durable and sturdy structure
  • Easy to enter and exit
best-polytunnels-for-allotment Garden Grow Polytunnel (3 x 2 x 1.9 m)
  • Easy to assemble
  • Netted windows so no bugs
  • Lots of interior space
best-polytunnels-for-allotment Parviflore Poly Tunnel Plastic Greenhouse (6 x 2 x 2 m)
  • Assembles in 30 minutes
  • 2m interior height
  • UV resistant and weather resistant
best-polytunnels-for-allotment Haxnicks Giant Easy Fleece Tunnel (300 x 60 x 45 cm)
  • Compact and subtle design
  • Folds away neatly
  • Very durable

Read Our Polytunnel Reviews

B00B5VYRXY
5055418310116
Protects plants from extreme temperatures, Very easy to assemble, Good ventilation,

Birchtree Polytunnel (6 x 3 x 2 m)

best-polytunnels-for-allotment Birchtree Polytunnel (6 x 3 x 2 m)
FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Protects plants from extreme temperatures
  • Very easy to assemble
  • Good ventilation
RATING
100
PRICE
Check Price on Amazon

Birchtree Polytunnel (6 x 3 x 2 m) Review

This large Birchtree Polytunnel helps create a protective environment for plants, covering an extensive area and keeping them sheltered from strong winds.

Made from 140 g PE fabric, with a galvanised steel framework, the 6 x 3 x 2 m polytunnel can encompass a large flowerbed or vegetable patch.

Both ends have a zip door that can be rolled up and secured, if desired, helping provide uninhibited access when watering plants. It also allows for increased ventilation if temperatures get too high under the polytunnel.

However, it should be noted that the zips are not very robust, and some customers have reported that they can become damaged or broken after prolonged use. Because of this, it’s necessary to be cautious when opening and closing the entryway.

In terms of assembly, the Birchtree Polytunnel is straightforward to put up. Due to its large size, the process is greatly aided by the help of two people. The written instructions are basic at best, and nonsensical at worst, but there is a labelled diagram to help as well – the poles are numbered, and it’s all relatively intuitive. Expect the whole process to take around 2 – 3 hours.

Overall, this polytunnel is considered relatively good value for money, given its size and strength. It can withstand reasonably high winds and there are plenty of Velcro straps to attach the cover to the metal frame. There’s no anchor kit provided, so a weighted system will need to be devised separately.

If you have a large area to cover, this is one of the best polytunnels for an allotment or vegetable garden, particularly if you’re keen on the green PE style.

Pros

  • Assembly is relatively easy and straightforward, given the size (having two people will help)
  • Remains robust in relatively strong winds of <40 mph
  • Strikes a good balance between quality and affordability for its size
  • Doors can be rolled up and secured above doorway to keep them out of the way when working
  • Plenty of Velcro fastenings ensure that the tunnel is well secured to the poles

Cons

  • The cover is a little thin so holes can develop over time, especially in higher winds or during assembly
  • The zips on the doors aren’t the best quality and need to be used carefully to avoid them breaking
B07BCGKS1P
6 breathable windows for ventilation, Durable and sturdy structure, Easy to enter and exit,

Garden Point Green Polytunnel Greenhouse (2 x 2 x 2 m)

best-polytunnels-for-allotment Garden Point Green Polytunnel Greenhouse (2 x 2 x 2 m)
FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • 6 breathable windows for ventilation
  • Durable and sturdy structure
  • Easy to enter and exit
RATING
97
PRICE
Check Price on Amazon

Garden Point Green Polytunnel Greenhouse (2 x 2 x 2 m) Review

Whilst some polytunnels will make a sizeable dent in your bank balance, others, like the Garden Point Green Polytunnel Greenhouse are much more budget friendly.

Measuring 2 x 2 m, this is one of the best polytunnels for an allotment with smaller vegetable patches, or several separate growing areas. Due to its reasonable price, numerous units could be purchased if you have plants that require different growing conditions over winter; plus, it’s also small enough for vegetable patches in the garden as well.

Although it’s a cheaper option, this Garden Point Polytunnel remains relatively robust and sturdy. It can cope with higher winds, and with being placed in allotments that aren’t particularly sheltered. Nevertheless, as with most polytunnels, there are still some customer reports of it tearing in the wind, and additional weights or stakes are required to secure it to the ground.

Assembly is simple, with a manual that is clear and concise, as well as a design that fits together logically. At least two people are needed to put it together, to help ease the cover over the frame and avoid it catching on the bolts.

There are six “windows” fitted into the side of the polytunnel, made from netted mesh, that can either be covered or uncovered depending on how much ventilation is required. This is a useful way to either let in fresh air, or cool down the polytunnel during warmer weather.

It’s one of the best polytunnels for an allotment with small growing areas, or for growing plants in a medium-size garden as well. The cover is made from 140 g green PE plastic, and the galvanised steel frame compromises of 25 mm poles.

Pros

  • Not limited on head room despite more compact size - gardeners of 6 ft still don't have to crouch
  • Clear instructions and straightforward to assemble with the help of two people
  • Stands up relatively well in strong winds
  • Net windows help keep the interior cool on hot days without letting bugs inside

Cons

  • Zips are a little fragile and need to be used slowly and carefully to prolong their life
  • Some of the stitching may be a little loose, like where the Velcro connects to the cover, meaning seams shouldn't be pulled too roughly
B07NPKR32Y
5017730405819
Easy to assemble, Netted windows so no bugs, Lots of interior space,

Garden Grow Polytunnel (3 x 2 x 1.9 m)

best-polytunnels-for-allotment Garden Grow Polytunnel (3 x 2 x 1.9 m)
FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Easy to assemble
  • Netted windows so no bugs
  • Lots of interior space
RATING
96
PRICE
Check Price on Amazon

Garden Grow Polytunnel (3 x 2 x 1.9 m) Review

If you’re relatively new to gardening, or simply don’t want to splash out on an overly-expensive polytunnel, the Garden Grow Polytunnel is a good option to consider.

It’s suitable for gardeners with medium-size plots, as the tunnel itself measures 3 x 2 x 1.9 m. Although it is not as high quality as some more-expensive models, it still strikes a good balance between size, price and quality.

The semi-transparent PE cover is mounted over a powder-coated steel frame. Plastic joints connect the poles together to make assembly easier. Putting it together is relatively straight forward but requires some common sense, given that the instructions are not overly clear.

There are four mesh windows that can be left covered to keep heat in, or, alternatively, the plastic covers can be rolled up to allow air through the mesh. This can aid with ventilation and stop unwanted damp from hanging around inside the polytunnel. Similarly, the zip door can either be sealed or rolled up.

In terms of weather resistance, the frame stands up well to strong winds and turbulent weather, although it will likely need weighting down with stakes (which aren’t included). The PE cover is relatively resilient as well, but it does have some weaknesses.

Primarily, the cover is only held on to the frame using six pieces of Velcro, and there is no way to secure it to the frame in the middle. Therefore, it may be necessary to engineer additional ways to attach the cover to the frame when it arrives.

It could need reinforcing in other areas too, to stop the Velcro tearing the cover during high winds.

Nevertheless, for the price/size/quality ratio it does have a lot to offer, and could be one of the best polytunnels for an allotment if you’re keen to investigate the benefit of using a tunnel, without forking out too much money.

Pros

  • A good size polytunnel that allows you to tend to your plants without stooping down
  • Netted windows allow for option of gentle ventilation without having to leave door open
  • Large roll-up door allows for easy entry and exit into the polytunnel
  • As a medium-size tunnel it offers a good balance between size, quality and price

Cons

  • Assembly instructions are not very clear
  • Cover is a little tight for the frame which can make it difficult to pull over the frame
  • Plastic cover may tear away from the Velcro in high winds because there is no reinforcement
B07NCKXVMK
0694536406032
Assembles in 30 minutes, 2m interior height, UV resistant and weather resistant,

Parviflore Poly Tunnel Plastic Greenhouse (6 x 2 x 2 m)

best-polytunnels-for-allotment Parviflore Poly Tunnel Plastic Greenhouse (6 x 2 x 2 m)
FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Assembles in 30 minutes
  • 2m interior height
  • UV resistant and weather resistant
RATING
93
PRICE
Check Price on Amazon

Parviflore Poly Tunnel Plastic Greenhouse (6 x 2 x 2 m) Review

To protect your plants in different weather, the Parviflore Poly Tunnel Plastic Greenhouse has a UV-resistant cover, galvanised-steel frame, 25 mm reinforced arches and ventilation options in case of overheating.

The UV-resistant reinforced PE cover stops plants from getting excessive exposure to UV rays in the summer time, protecting them from burning. Similarly, the six mesh windows can be uncovered to allow cool air to circulate if temperatures are too high.

In more unpredictable weather, the waterproof cover stops plants from getting over-watered, and the combination of the frame and cover helps protect plants from wind damage.

Nevertheless, it would be remiss to mention that some winds can be too strong for this polytunnel, and if it is too exposed, it could suffer some damage. The plastic cover is not as strong or thick as more expensive polytunnels. But then again, it doesn’t cost as much either.

Measuring 6 x 2 m, this is a suitable choice for medium-size allotments. There are 2 metres of headroom inside the tunnel as well, so for many people – up to approximately 6’5” – there’s no need to stoop.

The fixings are of reasonable quality, but the zip for the door is not overly strong and will need to be used with care to avoid breaking it. There are also only eight zip ties included for holding the cover onto the frame, and they are quite short and fiddly to attach.

Assembly takes approximately 2.5 hours.

Pros

  • Mesh windows help with maintaining temperature and keeping bugs out
  • Maintains structure even in most wet and windy weather
  • Assembly instructions are simple to follow and assembly takes approximately 2.5 hours
  • 2 m height is tall enough to comfortably stand inside without stooping

Cons

  • Water can accumulate at the top and may weigh the fabric down causing tears
  • Design only fixes to the ground in four places and may need further reinforcement to make the structure more secure
B004ZR1PQW
5662252333692,0651609210422,5557890076394
Compact and subtle design, Folds away neatly, Very durable,

Haxnicks Giant Easy Fleece Tunnel (300 x 60 x 45 cm)

best-polytunnels-for-allotment Haxnicks Giant Easy Fleece Tunnel (300 x 60 x 45 cm)
FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Compact and subtle design
  • Folds away neatly
  • Very durable
RATING
85
PRICE
On sale at Amazon

Haxnicks Giant Easy Fleece Tunnel (300 x 60 x 45 cm) Review

This Haxnicks Giant Easy Fleece Tunnel has a few different uses. Due to its tight-weave construction, it protects plants from insects in summer, and it’s also sufficiently insulative to help plants survive frosty nights.

As a relatively small, non-permanent structure, this fleece tunnel can be put up and taken down quickly, and used only when required. This is particularly useful considering how unpredictable our UK climate can be; there’s nothing worse than thinking your plants are finally safe from winter, only to discover we’re in for a bout of frost in March!

Assembly is straightforward, with galvanised steel hoops that support the polypropylene fleece. They push easily into the ground, and are threaded through the fleece, so all you need to do is extend the tunnel out like a concertina. It also folds up easily too.

The whole tunnel doesn’t take up a lot of space when extended, measuring 300 x 60 x 45 cm. It’s therefore suitable for a lot of differently-sized vegetable patches, allotments and gardens, offering a lot of flexibility for protecting plants.

It’s one of the best polytunnels for an allotment that has plants which may need protection from frost, bugs, birds or all of the above. The drawstring ends make it easy to close off and create a barrier against both the weather and animals.

Unlike larger polytunnels, this fleece tunnel will be less exposed to the wind and less prone to weather damage. Its small size also makes it a good solution for allotments or gardens without much storage space, and it can easily be put up and taken down as required.

Pros

  • Great for small gardens or allotments thanks to its compact design
  • Easy to fold away and store (folds up like a concertina)
  • Protects plants from frost
  • Stops bugs and birds being able to access plants
  • Can be brought out quickly if there is a sudden frost warning

Cons

  • Tending to the plants inside the tunnel can be difficult
  • Fabric cover tends to slide up around the metal supports, causing gaps to open up at the bottom of the cover - need to keep an eye on this during assembly

How to Choose the Best Polytunnel for an Allotment

Polytunnels are affordable, easy to set up and make it far easier to grow a range of plants and produce.

They can act in a similar way to a greenhouse, keeping temperatures up and humidity high, allowing plants from different climates (or seasons) to grow comfortably. They can also protect plants from wind damage, insects and frost, depending on the style you go for.

Although polytunnels can be used in the garden, they are often seen on allotments due to their large size. Nevertheless, there are polytunnels that are suitable for smaller spaces.

In order to find the best polytunnel for an allotment or vegetable patch, you’ll need to consider the space you have available, your budget, and the results you want to achieve. The following information should help you make an informed decision.

Benefits of a Polytunnel for an Allotment

There’s a number of reasons why so many people opt to erect a polytunnel in their allotment.

  • Warmer growing environment. Polytunnels are noticeably warmer than the outdoors, especially on sunny days. The warmer temperatures mean you’ll be able to grow crops you wouldn’t normally be able to in the UK, and you can also grow year-round with the use of a heater. In winter, polytunnels can help protect plants from frost.
  • Longer growing season. On sunny days, your polytunnels will warm up quickly. This is especially noticeable in spring and autumn, where the sun still shines but the air stays a little chilly. Sunny days will warm your polytunnel, extending the growing season.
  • Controlled environment. The climate inside a polytunnel is far easier to control than the climate outside. You’ll be able to control the temperature to some extent, and there’s less risk of rain, wind or frost damaging your plants.
  • More cost effective than greenhouses. Opting for a polytunnel over a greenhouse should work out a lot cheaper. Polytunnels can also be erected on soil bases, and they are relatively easy to put together.
  • Range of sizes. Polytunnels come in a huge range of sizes, so whether your allotment is large or small, you should be able to find a model to suit.
  • No planning permission required. Like greenhouses, polytunnels don’t require planning permission. This makes them far less time consuming to set up than other outdoor structures.
  • Portability. Polytunnels can be moved around the allotment or garden if needed. They are generally very lightweight.
  • Protects plants from insects, birds and animals. Polytunnels also protect your produce and plants from the wildlife that comes into your garden.

Choosing the Right Size

Polytunnels come in many different sizes.

If you’re after more of a greenhouse feel, opt for a walk-in polytunnel with an internal height of around 2 metres. With one of these models, you can walk around inside the structure and tend to your plants without having to stoop. This also allows you to grow more plants. Some tomato plants can grow to around 2 metres.

If you lack space in your garden or your allotment is only small, a polytunnel that’s closer to the ground will feel less intrusive. There are smaller polytunnels available that are less than 50 cm high but can offer protection to specific plants.

In terms of length, polytunnels can range from around 3 metres long to upwards of 20 m. You’ll need to leave space around the polytunnel to erect it and carry out maintenance. Also, if using heaters, it will be easier to maintain the temperature of smaller polytunnels. Therefore, you may benefit from using several smaller polytunnels as opposed to one large one. This is also true as different plants may require different conditions.

Selecting the Right Cover Material

The covers of polytunnels can be made from a range of materials. Different materials will offer different properties.

Many polytunnels are made from polythene plastic. There are various types:

  • Clear polythene

This allows a lot of light inside the tunnel, allowing plants to benefit from the full spectrum of light that they require. It can be useful in countries like the UK, because plants here can struggle to get enough light as it is – you may not want to block any more of it with a polytunnel.

It does not offer a lot of heat protection and therefore is best used in summer, not in winter. Some crops will not appreciate so much direct light.

  • Polythene with an infrared additive

This type of plastic cover doesn’t let heat escape quickly through the cover. Therefore, it is good to use if heating the polytunnel, because the heat will remain trapped.

It’s useful for any plants that require a warmer environment.

  • White/green polythene

These polytunnel covers are slightly more opaque and do not allow as much light in. They create shady conditions inside the polytunnel which are suitable for shade-loving plants.

Green polythene absorbs a lot of the red-light spectrum. As a result, it’s particularly beneficial for plants which thrive in green-light spectrum conditions.

  • Fleece

Fleece is particularly good at insulating plants and keeping them protected from frost. It’s used for smaller polytunnels and also keeps bugs and birds away from specific plants. Some people choose to use fleece inside of larger polytunnels in order to protect their plants that way.

Additional Features

Different styles of polytunnel are available depending on your needs. The following features may be worth looking out for:

Doors

Polytunnels can either have doors made from the same material as the rest of the tunnel, or framed, structured doors. They may simply be flap openings, or slightly more sophisticated zip-lock doors. The better the door closes, and the less gaps that it leaves, the more insulated the polytunnel will be. Structured doors will only feature on more expensive polytunnels.
Zip doors can also work well, but the zips don’t tend to be very robust. They can break easily.

Ventilation

One of the main benefits of having a polytunnel is being able to control the environment that your plants and produce are growing in.

While polytunnels are loved for their warmth, they can get very hot and stuffy. Fresh air is important when it comes to reducing moisture levels, keeping your plants cool and improving air flow.

Some polytunnels have air vents/’windows’ on the sides, which can be opened or shut depending on the weather.

Additional sections

Some polytunnels can be extended. This is a great option for those who don’t currently have the space available for a large polytunnel, but may do later on. You should be able to purchase additional sections which can be attached to your polytunnel if you move to a larger area.

Allotment Polytunnel FAQs

Is a poly tunnel better than a greenhouse? 

Polytunnels and greenhouses work in similar ways, both designed to boost your harvest and protect plants from bugs and birds.

There are several advantages to owning a polytunnel. They can be built onto a soil base and they’re very easy to assemble. Polytunnels can be stored easily, moved around the garden and are relatively simple to disassemble.

Greenhouses on the other hand are more expensive. They’re a much more permanent structure. While greenhouses can look great, they aren’t the best option if you lack garden space and the ground they are built on must be hard and level. They will however, last much longer than polytunnels.

How do polytunnels work? 

Polytunnels provide protection to plants and can let you continue growing weeks after the season’s end. The material used to build them allows the interior to heat up from the sun. The warm air and humidity is contained, creating a microclimate which allows plants to grow – including those that wouldn’t naturally grow in the UK!

Polytunnels also protect your plants from bugs, birds and animals; they often have mesh windows that allow for ventilation without letting pests in.

How long will my polytunnel last? 

Polytunnels are usually made up of a steel frame and polythene covering. While greenhouses should last a lifetime, polytunnels have a shorter lifespan. However, polytunnels vary in quality so exactly how long it will last depends on which model you buy.

Generally, a high-quality polytunnel frame could last for up to 20 years, while the polythene cover may need replacing every 3-5 years. Lower quality polythene covers may need replacing annually.

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