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It's all a bit of a mess.

If you have been around the farm lately, you cannot have helped notice that one of our polytunnels is not looking at its best. Known as polytunnel one (because it was the first on site) has lost one of its skins and isn’t functioning as a polytunnel at all now.

What's happened to polytunnel one?

The solar gain from a polytunnel can be staggering, and in the summer the heat builds up fiercely. If you have ever left anything made from metal in the full glare of the sun in your car in summer, you will realise how hot a piece of metal heated by the sun can get. The metal hoops of a polytunnel get really hot in the sunshine, so hot that they can damage the plastic that is resting on them.

To overcome this problem, at product called ‘hot spot tape’ is layed on the hoops and acts as a barrier between the plastic cover and the hoops. The tape has a shiny coating and a layer of insulating foam. I wasn’t around when this polytunnel was erected, so I don’t know if the hotspot tape was renewed or if it somehow got damaged. But during the really hot summer we’ve just had, the polythene cover got burned in different places along the line of the hoops. At the damaged areas the polythene had become opaque and brittle, and this in turn had caused the cover to rip open. Winter storms have done the rest.

We have a new cover for the tunnel waiting to be fitted, but everyone is so busy on the farm with Christmas, we haven’t had the opportunity to fit it yet. So, one of the first jobs after Christmas is to fit the new cover. But this is a difficult job that needs a few sets of hands and a calm day, unless you want to see the launch of Billinge’s biggest kite.

Have you ever covered a polytunnel? If not, would you like to give us a hand and learn how? Obviously we need to choose our day carefully and we will need everything in place with enough people at the ready to accomplish this.

Do you want to learn how to skin a polytunnel?

If you want to get involved in the new year, please leave your contact details on this form so we can get in touch with you the night before we intend to do the job. I am ensured that several ‘brews’ and even some cake will be available to provide you with sustenance.

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