Grow Greener with Garthdee Field Allotments Association

Polytunnel Problems

A number of plotters have reported problems with their polytunnels recently. Some have reported that the covers perforate after a season or so and some have arrived on site to find that they have taken off in a gale and were last seen heading for the North Sea. When I researched a possible purchase, I found it very difficult to tell which make and model was a bargain and which an investment.

Val on Plot 23 has suggested a novel alternative – the Polycrub.

Part polytunnel, part greenhouse

I didn’t know much about Polycrubs, so I sent off a query to the makers/sellers asking:

Did they make a model close to the 8′ by 6′ that the Council allows?

Are they suitable for self-builders?

Do they deliver to Aberdeen?

What would the costs be?

Here’s the response I got back from the Maree, their General Manager:

“Many thanks for your e-mail. Polycrubs are popular with community groups and of course began life here with us as a community project. Our smallest Polycrub is approx. 3 x 3m (10 x 10 feet) – delivered prices are noted below and we have also attached some info sheets.

The price includes everything required for the external structure of the kit, except cement for the posts. The kit comes with a ground plan and full construction notes for a level site and should be built in accordance with these. We find that anyone with suitable building experience has the capacity to erect a polycrub.

There are two options for delivery to your address:

Option 1 Delivery by ordinary flat-bed/curtain sider truck. This option meansthat the kit would have to be off-loaded from the truck by hand. None of the components are heavy but customers need to be aware that the sheets are long and pliable. Sheets can be like a sail in anything but the calmest of condition and are prone to lift in any sort of wind, so the customer should liaise with the haulage company to make sure that the delivery takes place on a calm day and extreme care needs to be taken when off-loading. The cost of a 3 x 3m using this option would be £2688 including VAT.

Option 2 Delivery by Hi-ab truck. With this option, the kit will be lifted off using the crane on the truck. The kit bundle does not need to be opened up when it reaches site and weather conditions are not as important. The cost of a 3 x 3m using this option would be £2928 including VAT.

If a customer decides to place an order, we will invoice for the cost of the kit. Once that is paid, we’ll arrange to have the kit delivered. Delivery usually takes around 2-3 weeks, depending on the weather/ haulier availability.”

For convenience I have added a permanent link on our Links Page. Please speak with Val if you want any more background information.

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10 Comments

  1. Jill Dryburgh

    Wondering about these polycurbs, Do the sheets go completely over the roof of the polytunnel? And how thick is the polycarbonate they use?

    • Norman

      Sorry Jill, but I have no personal experience of the Polycurbs, so can’t help. I know they reply to info requests and enquiries however. Norman

  2. Richard Davies

    Polycrubs are superb really. Very durable and more solid than polytunnels. Pretty much a double glazed greenhouse / nissan hut in one. I use mine to store a boat in all winter. I live in the Outer Hebrides and they withstand our winters, which have 100mph winds most years and gales weekly for a few months each winter. I constructed my own and sourced the black pipe locally from a fish farm and sheeting and fittings independently. This means I have managed a 9 meter by 4 meter for around £2400 (but a fair amount of work to do) and needs access to fish farm scrapped pipes. The size issue may be a problem for many as they are not easy to construct in small sizes. The company is excellent and their kits are great. I helped put one together before making my own.

    • remoteuiux

      Hi Richard, Do you know where I can get the fittings independently?

      • Richard Davies

        There’s lots of places but sheets from Varico, buttons from many online sellers and stainless screws at 50mm by 5.5 from bolt base, same for 6 x 100mm ss screws. The fish farm pipes a tricky one but not that expensive to buy a 100 meter roll of the 100mm feed pipe from a fish farming supplies company maybe? Timber easy enough as are gate hinges and latches for the doors. Me and a friend can build them in 3.5 days from start to finish now but we’ve done loads. We build the Nortenergy ones and our own.

        • colin

          hi richard im trying to source info on type sheet used twinwall and size thickness .
          im really hoping to build one any information on this be so grateful for .
          warm regards colin neil

          • Richard Davies

            If you see my previous message you’ll see the supplier name. Just google it and the website has the sheets. 7m long, 1050mm wide and 10mm twin wall – don’t go wider as you cannot reach to put the buttons in far away from where your ladder will be in the middle. Good luck

        • shazz

          Hi Richard, I watched a group build one of these on their website. They mentioned that the fish feed pipe had wood inside it where the purlins get attached. Quote – “Wood has been slotted and fixed inside the pipes in the correct place to fix the purlins to – clever.” Is that correct? If I was making my own should I put chunks of wood inside at these points? Would it be glued or screwed into place, or do you think the guy was mistaken? Thanks for any advice.

          • Richard

            You do have to put timber in behind. This is easily done. 75mm round fence post cut into 200mm lengths. Then mark your post (starting from the centre out to both sides) the required distances. Allow 100mm for half the “stub” length and put in a sacrificial screw. Push the stub into that point from either end and screw in the stub itself smack in the middle of it.

            You need 7 in total per pipe and 11 for the two end pipes to cope with framing out fixing points. A lot of work but easy enough. Work out locations using Pi and your diameter. Your screws will eventually pull out in a storm if they do not fix into something solid behind the pipe. Not an issue in calm mainland locations but for the Outer Hebrides, belt and braces always.

  3. Shazz

    Hi Richard, I watched a group build one of these on their website. They mentioned that the fish feed pipe had wood inside it where the purlins get attached. Is that correct? If I was making my own should I put chunks of wood inside at these points?

    Also, do the 10mm twinwall sheets curve easily over a 10′ wide arch or should I get the thinner stuff. I wouldn’t want to buy it and it start snapping because I’m bending too much to fit a narrower tunnel. Thanks for any advice/

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