View Full Version : How do you grow veg in a wind tunnel?

15-Sep-07, 08:54
We have just moved up here and have a very large empty and exposed garden. Just started to put in hedges, trees etc to break up the wind and have had a bit of success with some veg, tried potatoes first.
what we would really like to do is put a poly tunnel up so we can grow some toms etc. Has anyone ever had success with one up here? If so, what sort of protection is needed before we fork out lots of lolly.

15-Sep-07, 10:38
Check out the poly tunnels at spittal.
Telegraph poles cemented deep with plastic mesh attached( might be as high as 8 feet ) surrounding the tunnels.

Humerous Vegetable
15-Sep-07, 16:57
I think the ones at Spittal are the only ones I remember seeing (in one piece anyway) in Caithness. My greenhouse blew away in March and I still haven't found most of the bits.I think they're probably on Hoy. I had it in the most sheltered part of my garden, up against one of the house walls and it still didn't save it.
You'll find gardening up here is very hard work and full of heartbreak, but good luck to you anyway.

Bill Fernie
17-Sep-07, 00:19
If you have just moved to Caithness or sutherland then you have not yet seen wind. I have seen many greenhouses collapsed due to wind and many folk do not put them up. If you look around you will see that often the ones still remaining have big wall attached to them or are against a house. Lean to's at least have half a chance of standing up when the big winds really blow very couple of years or so. whatever you do depending on where you are glass or poly-tunnel will need to be very very well anchored to the ground and/or wall. Normal green houses used by gardners in the south are no use at all.

I commenced a few years back to build a massive wall - not yet finished - to be the anchor for a leanto. My plan was to make the wall at least two feet thick from Caithness stone - mostly still lying in heap and then attach a lean to with very large beams for the roof - possibly corrugated plastic and hold the roof down with metal ties at least two feet long and embedded into the main wall. The front was to have been a small wall with large window frames and concrete supports between the main windows at the front.

As I say the foundations went in and then small part of my wall but it remains unfinished due to my other activities taking over.

Best of luck and think heavyweight to hold it all down when the really big winds hit. Every now and then we get gusts of over 100 mph and when that hits you will really be glad you went for the heaviest construction and even then you will have your fingers crossed.

I have seen the former extension made of wood and glass blasted completely apart when a high wind sent something through one window and then exploded all the other windows outwards in abig storm. Some of you may remebr that was the year the gym roof of Wick High was blown off. One of my neighbours had the a garage roof lifted with tww rows of concrete blocks still attached as the wind got underneath it. My current extension is hopefully many times stronger and is mad of concrete blocks with the roof held down by several long metal extensions into the concrete wall. I still have my fingers crossed when I hear a high wind going but I think I have it to the level of sturdieness needed for Caithness.

I still would not buy a small all glass green house and I was to buy a poly tunnel I would check with anyone who has one already to check out what strength they use and if they added any extra features to hold it down.

I can guarantee that if you cover your veg you will get much better crops. Years ago I tried afew experiments in my gaden - out in the bare earth, under olk lemonade/coke bottles and under polythene. Everything covered did better than out in the open air especially bringin on seeds and seedlings. The difference was amazing. Of course nearly eveything that grew underground did fine potatoes, and tunrips were great. Cabbage family did fine if you protected the plants early on. Cabbage root fly was severe pest in my garden but all the usual advice worked whan I applied it.

I have used old window frames with the glass still in them but it does mean you have to keep lifting them to water everything. Depends if you have the time to do it. Strawberries and raspberries seem to do very well in Caithness albeit later in the year. Other fruit bushes also as they crop later when the wind is less. We have heaps of blackcurrrants but most years let the blackbirds feed off them these days. We need to cover the strawberries with netting as the blackbird population in our garden has grown over the years.

03-Oct-07, 09:46
We have one in our garden and are enjoying loads of veg out of it this year. Its managed to withstand the winds in Caithness so far and been up a couple of years now. But, we did spend a lot of time putting it up and reinforcing the base. We also have a good hedge round our garden which I am sure helps.

05-Oct-07, 01:04
Last visit north I was intrigued to see a novel idea out in the wilds between Westerdale and Reay...a neat adaption of wind netting, it had been set into wooden frames and placed round a vegetable garden. the broad beans looked fantastic along with the tomato plants, the units were about 4ft tall not idea how they were set into the ground but obviously the gardener had put alot of thought into the problem.