5 Best Polytunnels For An Allotment Or Garden – Buyer’s Guide

If you have an allotment or garden and want to extend your growing season or grow more exotic plants, a polytunnel is a great alternative to a greenhouse.

Greenhouses can be expensive and difficult to build, so a polytunnel could be the perfect alternative for any gardener. But there are a lot of choices out there, so it can be difficult to choose.

That’s why our experts have put together a list of the 5 best polytunnels for an allotment or garden that are available at the moment. 

#1: First Tunnels Domestic Polytunnel

First Tunnels are a UK-based polytunnel experts. They also make commercial polytunnels, so they know what they are doing.

First Tunnels Polytunnel

Features:

  • size range from 1.83m to 4.27m (6ft to 14ft) wide
  • different lengths available
  • choice of covers: super therm (transparent white), smart white, net cover
  • choice of foundation to suit your allotment: foundation tubes, anchor plates, screw anchors, base plates for timber, base plates for concrete
  • different door options: hinged or sliding door – on both ends
  • frame made from galvanised steel
  • door frames made from timber
  • Accessories included: anti hot spot tape, lucky bag (for free) to get you started

To Consider:

  • best polytunnel for an allotment or garden
  • more expensive
  • great customer reviews
  • excellent customer service
  • you can build the polytunnel you need and want with a lot of choice
  • will take around two days to build, but you get an extensive instruction booklet and there are viedos available. And if you are stuck, you can call them. Or you can pay for First Tunnels to build it for you

While the First Tunnels polytunnel is not the cheapest, it is well worth the money. You will get the polytunnel that suits your allotment and your growing needs.

All the parts are very high quality, giving you a polytunnel that will stand the test of time. And although it will take two people around two days to build it, the instructions and videos are very good.

You won’t regret getting your polytunnel from First Tunnels. We certainly didn’t, as you’ll see below…

First Tunnels Review – Our Personal Experience

Living in an exposed rural area, our garden is regularly buffeted with strong winds.

Therefore, we knew we had to spend a little extra on a quality polytunnel that will withstand even the worst of the British weather. Anything less would be false economy.

We chose an 8ft x 20ft domestic polytunnel from First Tunnels due to their excellent reputation for quality, detailed instructions, and wide range of customisation options. Here’s how we got on…

Ordering Process

Customising Our First Tunnels Order

One of the things we really loved about First Tunnels was the ease at which you can customise your polytunnel to exactly what you need.

We went for extra support braces, sliding doors, crop bars, and staging to give us more growing options and increase the stability of our tunnel. There’s an explanation of what each option provides (some even have short videos to explain!) and the graphic on the left changes to give you a visual representation.

The more you spend, the more you save and so sometimes it can be cheaper to add on an extra just to get across the threshold for the next discount offer (it ranges from 10-20% off).

Overall, the process took a few minutes but was very simple to do and understand. Plus, you get free delivery and a 14-day money-back guarantee which really helps give you peace of mind.

Delivery

We ordered our First Tunnels polytunnel on 23rd March and we had it delivered on 31st March so we were only waiting 8 days for delivery.

In our minds, that’s pretty quick given it was a large order with quite a few customisations and extras.

On the day, we got a call from the delivery driver when he was on his way and he was very polite and put all the packages exactly where we wanted them – in our case, in the garage.

Construction

Building Our Polytunnel

I won’t lie. We felt pretty daunted by the prospect of putting up our polytunnel ourselves.

However, we wanted to give it a go as First Tunnels have lots of helpful videos and a really detailed printed construction guide that comes with your order.

We were relieved to find that constructing the polytunnel was relatively straightforward. There were a few bits that looked easier than they were, but also quite a few things we were dreading (like putting on the cover) that actually turned out to be pretty easy.

All in all, it does take time (we spent 2-3 days on ours), especially if like us, you like to read and then re-read all the instructions and watch and re-watch all the videos! It also does need some level of physical effort, though it’s more about stamina than strength.

We roped in a friend to help (unlike us, he’s not vertically challenged so was very useful for reaching the higher up bits!) with the lure of cooking him a nice meal on the evening (and a regular supply of our future growing successes!).

I’d strongly recommend doing the same if you can as it is much more fun when other people are involved.

Everything during the construction was manageable. It really was like putting up the biggest flat pack furniture item you’ve ever bought. The feeling once we finished was fantastic. You get a real sense of achievement once it’s done.

It should be noted that First Tunnels do also offer a service where they will build it for you. We expect it’s not cheap but we can see the benefits, especially if you’re not physically able to construct it yourself.

After the construction was complete, we finished ours off with some cheap pallet collars (bought from Facebook Marketplace) as raised beds, then laid a slab path down the middle, filling in the gaps with gravel.

It looks good and the slabs store heat and release it slowly during the night, giving a more even temperature for longer, so things grow even better.

Customer Support

We only had to contact customer support once and that was because one of our packages had split during transit and a staging leg had been lost. We also had been sent the wrong pack of screws for one of the optional extras we had opted for.

Within 1 day of emailing First Tunnels, we had a reply to say the missing bits had been dispatched. A day later they turned up! Great service!

The lesson we learned was that we should have gone through everything when it first arrived. You get a packing list of everything you should have, so you can cross-reference it.

The good thing though, is that you know First Tunnels will fix any issues quickly. While it wasn’t ideal to be missing a couple of bits, on such a large product it can happen. The main thing is how the company deals with it, and in this case, we couldn’t fault First Tunnels at all.

Veggie Overload!!

Growing Vegetables In A Polytunnel

So, after a couple of days work we had our polytunnel up and running and quickly planted it up. Given we were planting quite late, we didn’t expect much from our first crop.

However, the results have amazed us!

We’ve been inundated with cucumbers, tomatoes, chilies, aubergines, sweet potatoes, peppers, and some of the fastest-growing herbs we’ve ever had!

Without a doubt, getting a polytunnel was the best gardening decision we’ve ever made. We love it.

As for our experience with First Tunnels, we really can’t fault it.

Easy ordering process, lots of customisation options, fast delivery, plenty of construction support, and a quick response to any issues makes the company our top pick for the best polytunnel for an allotment, garden or any other space.

The fact they offer such good quality is the icing on the cake!

Best Polytunnels For An Allotment Or Garden On A Budget

While the First Tunnels polytunnel is our choice for the best polytunnel for an allotment or garden, it is also the most expensive option. So, if you are on a budget, we have put together a list of more affordable options that will do the job.

Image
BIRCHTREE 6M(L) x 3M(W) x 2M(H) Polytunnel Greenhouse Pollytunnel Poly Polly Tunnel Fully Galvanised Anti Rust Steel Frame 6 Section
FeelGoodUK PRO 3m x 2m x 2m Polytunnel Greenhouse Pollytunnel Poly Polly Tunnel Allotment or Garden Fully Galvanised Anti Rust Steel Frame
4m x 2m Polytunnel + Ground Anchor Kit "Strongest In It's Class" a fully Galvanised Structure with more Diagonal & Roof Bracing than all others. Metal Hinged Door | Multi-Window.
VOUNOT Polytunnel Greenhouse 4x3x2m 12m² Poly Tunnels Gardening Walk In Pollytunnel Tent with Steel Frame
Outsunny 4L x 2W x 2H M Walk-in Polytunnel Greenhouse Outdoor Greenhouse with 2 Roll-Up Zipper Doors & 6 Windows, 25mm Diameter Galvanised Steel Frame, White
Performance
Outstanding
Outstanding
Excellent
Very Good
Very Good
Value For Money
Excellent
Very Good
Very Good
Excellent
Very Good
Reviews

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Rating

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Our Pick
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BIRCHTREE 6M(L) x 3M(W) x 2M(H) Polytunnel Greenhouse Pollytunnel Poly Polly Tunnel Fully Galvanised Anti Rust Steel Frame 6 Section
Performance
Outstanding
Value For Money
Excellent
Reviews

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View On Amazon
Best Alternative
Image
FeelGoodUK PRO 3m x 2m x 2m Polytunnel Greenhouse Pollytunnel Poly Polly Tunnel Allotment or Garden Fully Galvanised Anti Rust Steel Frame
Performance
Outstanding
Value For Money
Very Good
Reviews

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View On Amazon
Image
4m x 2m Polytunnel + Ground Anchor Kit "Strongest In It's Class" a fully Galvanised Structure with more Diagonal & Roof Bracing than all others. Metal Hinged Door | Multi-Window.
Performance
Excellent
Value For Money
Very Good
Reviews

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View On Amazon
Image
VOUNOT Polytunnel Greenhouse 4x3x2m 12m² Poly Tunnels Gardening Walk In Pollytunnel Tent with Steel Frame
Performance
Very Good
Value For Money
Excellent
Reviews

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View On Amazon
Image
Outsunny 4L x 2W x 2H M Walk-in Polytunnel Greenhouse Outdoor Greenhouse with 2 Roll-Up Zipper Doors & 6 Windows, 25mm Diameter Galvanised Steel Frame, White
Performance
Very Good
Value For Money
Very Good
Reviews

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View On Amazon

Our expert’s chosen 5 best polytunnels for an allotment or garden are all good quality without costing the earth. And because they are all available on Amazon, you could have your new polytunnel in no time.

#1: BIRCHTREE 6mx3mx2m Polytunnel

BIRCHTREE 6mx3mx2m Polytunnel

Features:

  • size: 6m long, 3m wide and 2m high (19.6ftx9.8ftx6.5ft)
  • colour of polytunnel cover: green
  • metal frame made from galvanised anti-rust steel
  • 6 arch frames

To Consider:

  • our expert’s top pick on our list of best polytunnels for an allotment or garden on a budget
  • excellent customer reviews
  • easy to assemble
  • various sizes available
  • durable design – UV protection, 25mm strong steel poles (0.8mm thick)
  • 2 double zipped doors for air flow

This polytunnel has been made to last, with a galvanised steel frame and UV protected cover. The two doors will make it easy to ventilate your polytunnel and keep your plants happy. It’s available in various sizes so you are sure to find one that fits your allotment or garden.

No wonder it has made it to the top of our list of the best polytunnels for an allotment or garden on a budget.

BIRCHTREE 6M(L) x 3M(W) x 2M(H) Polytunnel Greenhouse Pollytunnel Poly Polly Tunnel Fully Galvanised Anti Rust Steel Frame 6 Section
  • 【HIGH-QUALITY MATERIAL】This BIRCHTREE Polytunnels is designed with high-quality sturdy 0.8mm thickness galvanised steel, which is rust-resistant and durable to ensure long-time use. The cover is made of PE material 140 g/m2. PE is completely UV protected and transparent, allows perfect solar performance and reinforced with polypropylene that prevents mechanical damages.
  • 【LARGE AREA AND DIFFERENT SIZES】There are two sizes of frame, 19mm and 25mm. With 19mm frame, you can choose from 2.5x2x2m, 3x2x2m, 4x2x2m and 5x2x2m. With 25mm frame, you can choose from 3x2x2m, 4x2x2m and 6x3x2m. PLEASE NOTE: the 19mm model is not bolted together and instead is connected by push button pole, whereas the 25mm model is a bolted together frame.
  • 【ZIPPERED DOORS WITH WINDOWS】2 Roll-up zippered doors with metal zip heads for smooth opening and close. Plastic white latches can for fixing the rolls. You can enter from both ends. Breathable and roll-up windows provide good air circulation and create optimal microclimate for cultivation of any plants. Integral fly net window prevents insects and birds from entering the greenhouse.

#2: FeelGoodUK 3mx2mx2m Polytunnel

FeelGoodUK 3mx2mx2x Polytunnel

Features:

  • size: 3mx2mx2m (10ftx6.5ftx6.5ft)
  • green polythene cover
  • galvanised steel frame with 25mm poles

To Consider:

  • runner-up on our list of best polytunnels for an allotment or garden on a budget
  • latched door rather than zipped one
  • great customer reviews
  • good price
  • easy to assemble

This polytunnel is ideal if you don’t want a roll-up zip door. The latched door is very handy and wide enough for a wheelbarrow. The sturdy frame should even survive strong winds, but you should consider digging it in, if you place it on an exposed area.

FeelGoodUK PRO 3m x 2m x 2m Polytunnel Greenhouse Pollytunnel Poly Polly Tunnel Allotment or Garden Fully Galvanised Anti Rust Steel Frame
  • ESSENTIAL POLY TUNNEL FEATURES: The Feel Good UK 3m Polytunnel is designed to give you all the features you might need when growing your own food supply – Our super strong metal framed door offers a far superior design to zip door models which often break fairy quickly.
  • FUNCTIONAL DESIGN: The 25mm galvanised frame is sturdy and whilst the bars are easy to click together each joint is welded and additional support bars are fitted to each corner to ensure stability through the winter months
  • PLANT PRIORITY: A strip window runs down one side and is fitted with mesh to keep bugs out whilst allowing ventilation, a clever feature allows the plastic flap to be clipped up creating a water catcher which funnels water to the end allowing you to place a water butt under it.

#3: Crocodile 4mx2m Polytunnel

Crocodile 4mx2m Polytunnel

Features:

  • size: 4m long and 2m wide and 2m high (13ftx6.2ftx6.2ft) 
  • cover colour: green
  • 4 arch frames, 25mm wide and 0.9mm thick
  • galvanised steel frame
  • accessories: 4 heavy duty anchorage stakes, 2 rolls of padded polytunnel frame protection tape

To Consider:

  • number three on our list of best polytunnels for an allotment or garden on a budget
  • great customer reviews
  • good value for money
  • one metal hinged door
  • six windows with insect netting
  • cover has reinforced ripstop to withstand strong winds
  • full ground bar kit for extra stability and rigidity
  • replacement parts easily available

This polytunnel is easy to ventilate with its six windows and metal hinged door. Because the windows also have in-built insect nets, pests will find it more difficult to get to your veggies. The door is wide enough to easily enter the polytunnel with a wheelbarrow.

#4: VOUNOT 4mx3xmx2m Polytunnel

VOUNOT 4mx3xmx2m Polytunnel

Features:

  • size: 4m long and 3m wide and 2m high (13ftx10ftx6.2ft) 
  • green UV protected and waterproof cover
  • galvanised steel frame

To Consider:

  • great price
  • good customer reviews
  • one wide roll-up door
  • 8 windows with anti insect net
  • horizontal steel struts for more stability and 2 storm bars to withstand the elements
  • available in various sizes

This polytunnel has a sturdy frame that is also reinforced for more stability and strength. The door and windows will allow you to create the perfect environment for your fruit trees, tomato plants or whatever you want to grow. And because it’s available in different sizes, you are sure to find the one that meets your needs.

Sale
VOUNOT Polytunnel Greenhouse 4x3x2m 12m² Poly Tunnels Gardening Walk In Pollytunnel Tent with Steel Frame
  • DIMENSIONS: 400CM L x 300CM W x 200CM H. Enjoy an area of 12m² to grow your plantation.
  • REINFORCED, HIGH PROTECTION, ANTI-UV protective cover - The tarpaulin is UV-treated and water-repellent. It is made of high-density polyethylene (140 g/m2), which provides strong UV resistance but leaves behind the sun rays necessary for growth
  • Quality manufacturing - Our garden greenhouse is made from 19 mm steel pipes. Steel has a galvanized finish to protect against corrosion.

#5: Outsunny 4mx2mx2m Polytunnel

Outsunny 4.5mx2mx2m Polytunnel

Features:

  • size: 4m long, 2m wide and 2m high (13ftx6.5ftx6.5ft)
  • white PE cover with grid threading for durability
  • metal frame made from galvanised rust resistant steel
  • accessories: 4 guy robes, 6 small and 8 large hooks

To Consider:

  • good customer reviews
  • one zipped roll-up door to allow good ventilation
  • 4 roll-up ventilation windows
  • slant bracing tubes and ground reinforced tubes for more stability
  • overlong cover to bury in soil for better wind resistance
  • easy assembly

This large walk-in polytunnel will give you the space you need to grow all the veggies you want. The guy robes will help to keep it stable even in windy conditions. But if you want to make sure, you better digg it in.

Outsunny 4L x 2W x 2H M Walk-in Polytunnel Greenhouse Outdoor Greenhouse with 2 Roll-Up Zipper Doors & 6 Windows, 25mm Diameter Galvanised Steel Frame, White
  • WALK-IN DESIGN: The heavy duty greenhouse allows you to grow vegetables, flowers, herbs and other plants all year around. This tunnel greenhouse is suitable for private gardens and allotments.
  • PLASTIC COVER: Our outdoor greenhouse creates a shelter so your crops are protected from light rain and harsh direct sunlight for healthy and beautiful growth. Features two windows on each side of the large polytunnel to allow fresh air in when needed.
  • STEEL FRAME: Made from rust-resistant steel, which ensures a strong, steady structure, keeping the large greenhouse standing in place. 'U'shape is slightly stable. LARGE DOOR: Poly tunnels with door is easy to walk in and out. Rolls up and holds up with the included fasteners.

How Do I Choose A Polytunnel?

When choosing a polytunnel, there are some things to consider. After all, you don’t want to spend money, time and effort and then not get what you wanted.

This is especially important when you decide to buy an expensive polytunnel. While polytunnels can be much cheaper than greenhouses, you can still spend over £1,000 if you have the money.

However, even if your budget is smaller, you still want to make sure you get what you need and don’t regret your purchase later.

Size

First you have to decide what size polytunnel you need. This will depend on what you will use your allotment polytunnel for and what space you have available.

If you want to overwinter slightly tender plants, your space needs will be smaller than if you want to extend your growing season, grow summer crops such as tomatoes or grow more exotic plants.

Some people will recommend to go as big as your space allows, but if you then don’t use all the space in the polytunnel, you might regret this.

My recommendation would be to sit down and think carefully about what you want to grow on your allotment or in your garden. Inside the polytunnel but also outside. 

This way, you will get a sense of the space you will actually need. Try to also think about the whole year, not just summer.

polytunnel with tomatoes

There are many vegetables that you can grow all winter in a polytunnel. Or maybe you need to bring in some of your outdoor plants to overwinter them.

Once you have a plan of what you would like to grow, you will know how much space you will need inside and outside the polytunnel.

You want to strike a balance to ensure that you have enough space for everything you want to grow.

The best polytunnels for an allotment or garden will be extendable polytunnels. This means that you can add more space if you need to. I would recommend doing this at the same time your cover needs replacing though, as this will prevent you from wasting money.

The way it works is that you buy additional arches and a bigger cover. This is a good solution if you are not sure about the size you need, as it gives you the option to make it bigger, should you need to.

Location

The next thing to consider is the location of the polytunnel. Will it be sheltered and protected from the elements or will it get battered by wind and rain.

The more exposed to the elements yur polytunnel is, the stronger it has to be.

If you know that it will have to withstand strong winds, you also want to make sure that you secure it as much as possible. This includes strengthening its structure by adding crop bars and storm bracing. 

The best polytunnels will have such additional measures for more strength. 

But you also want a polytunnel that can be fixed securely in the ground. This can be done in several ways, such as ground tubes and ground anchors, fixing plates or trenching (where a trench is dug around the polytunnel and the polythene cover is buried to keep it in place).

To be able to use the trenching method, the cover needs to be big enough, so look out for any mention that the polytunnel is suitable for this method.

Look out for the ways the polytunnel is fixed on the ground to assess if it will be strong enough for your particular weather conditions.

The best polytunnels will also use good quality materials, which brings us neatly to our next point. 

Quality

choose good quality

When you buy a polytunnel, you don’t want to have to replace it after a season because it is of poor quality. 

So it is important to buy the best quality you can for your budget. To ensure you get the best polytunnel for your needs, look out for these criteria.

You want to make sure your polytunnel has a metal frame. The best polytunnels for an allotment or garden will have a frame made of galvanised steel, which is a very strong material. 

As mentioned above, look for additional measures to strengthen the frame such as storm bars. This will ensure your frame is as strong as possible.

When it comes to the cover, you want one that will last for a few years. The thickness will be one indicator of this. Also, the best polytunnels will have a cover with special features, such as anti-condensation, anti-drip or temperature control.

You might not be able to afford the best technology that is currently on the market, but it is always good to shop around to see what you can afford.

If your budget won’t stretch to a cover that has these special features, then the next point is even more important, ventilation.

Ventilation

Ventilation is one of the most important things when it comes to a polytunnel. Because of the way a polytunnel works, moister build up is a common occurrence. 

Having a door you can open, to let much needed air into the polytunnel is vital. Two doors, one at each end, is even better. Because this will allow you to achieve air circulation.

The best polytunnels for an allotment will provide you with appropriate opportunities for ventilation. This could include doors, windows or vents low down on the side of the tunnel.

A well ventilated polytunnel will keep moisture levels in control, but also ensure the polytunnel does not get too hot.

While one reason to grow in a polytunnel or greenhouse is to increase the temperature so that plants thrive. In the height of summer, a polytunnel can quickly overheat and damage your plants.

So make sure that any polytunnel you buy comes with some sort of ventilation.

Heated Vs Unheated

Another consideration you should take into account is whether you are planning to heat your polytunnel or not. 

This is important, because larger polytunnels will be more expensive to heat than smaller ones. So, if you are planning to heat it, consider how much it will cost to heat it.

Budget

what is your budget

Finally, we have come to budget. Hardly any of us are able to just buy the best polytunnel out there, money no object. Most of us are limited by a budget, we can’t buy an expensive polytunnel, even if we wanted to.

I would always recommend buying the best quality for the price you can afford, even if that means shopping around a bit.

One thing I wouldn’t recommend is going for the cheapest options. Because these tend to be of poor quality and are likely to only last for a few months. 

The result is that you have to regularly purchase a replacement, which in the long run won’t save you any money. 

You are better off investing a bit more money to get a quality that will last you longer.  

The polytunnels on our list are all moderately priced, so you should find one that suits your budget.

Do Polytunnels Need Ventilation?

The short answer is yes. We have briefly talked about ventilation earlier, but let’s go into more detail.

One of the main benefits of a polytunnel is to provide the perfect growing environment for your plants. Whether this is warmth or higher humidity.

However, during summer, a polytunnel can heat up quite a bit during the day. And while many plants, such as tomatoes, love it warm, if it gets too hot, they might not do very well. 

Ventilation can ensure that the temperature within the polytunnel does not get too high. 

Another problem that can occur in a polytunnel is moister build up. Condensation can create the perfect environment for fungal diseases, which love damp, warm conditions.

And once a plant has been infected, there is, most of the time, no cure. All you can do is remove the infected plant.

Allowing good air flow through your polytunnel via ventilation can help minimise the risk of diseases affecting your crops. Because the air flow will ensure that the foliage of your plants dries out quicker, making the conditions less favourable for diseases.

Finally, ventilation is also good for you. You don’t want to work in a polytunnel that is stuffy. Fresh air will benefit your plants as well as yourself.

What Is The Best Polytunnel For A Windy Site?

windy weather

If your polytunnel will be located on a windy site, you want to make sure you get a heavy duty polytunnel, that is made from sturdy materials and has features that will strengthen it.

As already suggested earlier, look for a polytunnel that has a sturdy metal frame made from steel. Some polytunnels are also reinforced by timber, which will make them even stronger and wind reistant. 

If the location of your garden or allotment polytunnel is especially exposed, you can look into reinforcing your polytunnel with wood, even if the polytunnel itself does not come with this feature.

Any measures that will strengthen the structure, such as crop bars and storm bracing, are a must if you want to place your polytunnel on a windy site.

In a windy location, you will have to take extra precautions to fix your polytunnel on the ground. Rather than using anchor plates, which are used to fix a polytunnel into a soil base, you can use base plates.

These are used to fix the polytunnel to a hard standing base, such as concrete or flags. This will anchor your polytunnel firmly into the ground and allow it to survive on a windy site.

To prevent the cover coming off in strong winds, you have to either fix it to the frame or use the trenching method, whereby you bury the edges of the cover in the soil.

Also, make sure that the cover is pulled taut over the frame. This will prevent the wind from being able to get under flappy bits and cause damage.

There are other things you can do to protect your polytunnel in a windy location. Make sure that there is no vegetation too close to the tunnel. Because in strong winds, branches could damage the cover. 

After a windy day, walk around your polytunnel to inspect it for any tears. Small tears can be repaired with duct tape, or you can stitch them back up, if you are handy with a sewing needle.

You could also consider growing a hedge to break the wind, if the wind tends to come from one direction. 

Now that you know which are the best polytunnels for an allotment or garden, you are ready to buy yours and start your next chapter on your vegetable plot. Happy Growing!

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