Side access into a polytunnel

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JackGrad

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Side access into a polytunnel
« on: February 22, 2022, 19:20 »
Hi all
I moved into a house last year where the previous owner had erected a very large steel pipe framed tunnel.
About 25m long, 3m high and about 7m across.  Unfortunately, he built it with one end 2m from the side of the house and the other end 2m from the side of a shed.  There are doors at both ends.   The tunnel has not been used in years and inside are many metres of raised beds of rotting wood sides and tons of old soil, now mainly dust.  Blackberry brambles and weeds abound.    The steel and the plastic are in good condition but both end doors have collapsed.   I am champing at the bit to get started in there, it was one of the reasons I bought the place, to start my new hobby, but I am dreading the idea of moving tons of soil, wood and rubbish by manoeuvring a wheel barrow through the tiny gaps at either end.   I think he must have built the setup before he put the plastic on.   Without having to recover the whole tunnel, I was wondering if anyone had any ideas of how to gain access through the side of a tunnel without weakening the whole thing.  Thanks for any advice. (Sorry, didn't realise how long winded this was) 

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Yorkie

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Re: Side access into a polytunnel
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2022, 20:45 »
I don't know, sorry, but wanted to say welcome to the forums  :)
I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days all attack me at once...

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rowlandwells

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Re: Side access into a polytunnel
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2022, 09:15 »
firstly your saying the poly cover is ok? and as I understand its just the tunnel doors that are the problem being to narrow for a wheel barrow :unsure:

so could it be possible to make one door frame wider if your careful removing the poly sheeting round the door frame then put a new frame in place and fix the poly sheeting back obviously you may need to sort out the door to fit the new frame but at least this will give access in and out the tunnel to do what's needed just a thought  ;)

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snowdrops

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Re: Side access into a polytunnel
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2022, 11:01 »
Perhaps clear the doors & frames away would give enough room to gain access for your clearance operation, the dust dry soil from the raised beds could just be spread out & shouldnt need removing I wouldnt have thought. It will need revitalising though, good additions of well rotted manure should help. If the 2m access is always going to be a issue it might be worth considering taking out 1 hoop & reconstructing your door way at the next hoop, which is probably 5ft away? You would have enough plastic to reattach to a new door frame I would imagine. The only other thing would be to move the shed at the other end. I really dont think you can make access in from the side as its the nature of the beast that that is where the strength of the tunnel comes from I believe. Ive never seen one with side access, but of course I could be proved wrong...I often am lol. Good luck & let us know what you decide.
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JackGrad

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Re: Side access into a polytunnel
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2022, 00:14 »
Many thanks all for taking the time to reply.   I should have mentioned, as long as my post was, that I hope to clear everything out to start a hydroponic scheme, so need the floor to be clear.    I think the problem is more the work required to wheel probably a few tons of stuff in such a confined space.   I thought that if I could get in through the side I could get my little lawn tractor in with its trailer and save a lot of time and sweat.   I get that it will weaken the whole thing though.   I thought perhaps someone might have a miracle idea  :-)
I think your suggestion of taking out one hoop and rebuilding that end further away from the shed while at the same time rebuilding the door frames seem to be a great idea!  Would save problems in the future too.  Just a thought though, with no doors on the tunnel, I think I'm lucky both ends were so close to structures or that last storm would have had the whole thing away.  Thanks again for your help.

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grinling

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Re: Side access into a polytunnel
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2022, 18:26 »
look at pics of polytunnelsasa frame is made and plastic is attached to it. investgate hydroponics in a polytunnelas mine get extremely hot in the summer,even with the doors open

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JackGrad

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Re: Side access into a polytunnel
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2022, 18:54 »
Apologies, didn't quite understand.  Did you mean that you had seen pictures of tunnels with side access?
My tunnel is made with very thick 2 inch metal frames and cross members

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grinling

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Re: Side access into a polytunnel
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2022, 17:24 »
Sorry, what I meant was look at pics to see how a door is inserted into the ends of the polytunnel. A door on the side probably won't circulate the air a well as two end doors. You might think about shortening both ends. My polytunnel is about 6.5m long and temperatures well over 40, so I try to water early. great for cucs and melons.

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JackGrad

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Re: Side access into a polytunnel
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2022, 17:35 »
Thanks, mainly looking at a side door for access for a small tractor as mentioned above.   Would still have the end doors but as they are very close to buildings, cant get easy access, even for a wheelbarrow/

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grinling

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Re: Side access into a polytunnel
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2022, 14:22 »
To gain a side entrance you could take out 1 or 2 metal rounds, build a wooden structure like a giant polygon onto next metal round both ends.then reattach polytunnel fabric after you have made a 2 large doors.
or you could take out half a metal round, build a wooden support for double doors, reattach plastic on top of door frame with extra wood on top to hold in place.
cut the plastic up the middle for the sides, but beware that the plastic might be brittle.
Might be easier to take several meters out one end.

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jezza

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Re: Side access into a polytunnel
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2022, 07:52 »
Hello have a word with a company called Northern Polytunnels they may be able to advise you,they may have a kit to put a door in the side   jezza



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