Growing as much food on as little land for as little money as possible

Guttering and a vent in the far end of the polytunnel


Spent an hour or so at the allotment this lunchtime. Yesterday was the Allotments Association Open Day and I met a lot more plot holders and spread the word on no dig gardening. I’m not too sure they were all that convinced but time will tell. They have asked me to give a talk on the subject at one of the committee meeting so I can’t have bored them too much.

I met Pete from the plot next to mine. He had some old guttering down the side of his shed that he no longer needed and a piece of pipe I could use as a down pipe. This was really handy because the rain has been coming into the tunnel off the roof and flooding the seedlings.

I used some old shelf brackets I had in the shed to support the gutter -or launder as we call it in Cornwall- and attached the down pipe with a screw as it was not a tight push fit. Everything was just the right length and nothing needed cutting. It just went together in minutes.

Wombled Guttering for the shed at the allotment

Wombled Guttering for the shed at the allotment

Here is a picture of the down pipe going into one of the water butts

Down pipe into water butts

Down pipe into water butts

I have three water buts in the polytunnel. They take up a lot of room but I am hoping they will help regulate the temperature both day and night.

Water butts in Polytunnel for watering and temperature regulation

Water butts in Polytunnel for watering and temperature regulation

I need to find a way to link the three butts together so they all fill evenly but at the moment I just use a bucket to transfer water from the filling one to the other two.

Cost of the guttering and water catchment system = zero pounds

Next job was to put some sort of vent in the far end of the tunnel to get a through draft and safeguard the tunnel from being blown away in the high winds we get around here.

As always I didn’t want to spend any money if I could help it so decided not to use hinges, catches or stays and to just work with what I had on the plot

I started by building a framework for the vent and then cutting the plastic and stapling it around the frame. Looking at this picture I may have pulled the plastic a little too tight and I have deformed the blue plastic hoop a little. Not to worry it will still perform OK

Vent in far end of polytunnel

Vent in far end of polytunnel

Next I built a window frame to go in the hole and covered it in plastic. This was then fixed in place with just one screw half way up each side acting like a hinge pin.

Vent closed

Vent closed

I then added a baton to the vent surround near the bottom to act as a stop and a baton to the vent to act as a handle and stop

Vent open

Vent open

So that’s that another couple of jobs finished

I also planted some onion seeds and started thinking about the next project of fixing the leaking roof on the shed. More on that in another post







Author: tinyallotment

Dedicated to living a simple, independent, self reliant life where money is not the main factor. My dream is to engineer a life that requires very little from the outside world. I would like to provide my own shelter, collect my own water, grow, catch, hunt, forage my own food, create my own energy and deal with my own waste. This dream all starts in a tiny allotment in Cornwall where I will be experimenting in growing food, generating energy and dealing with waste.

7 thoughts on “Guttering and a vent in the far end of the polytunnel

  1. To make your three water butts fill up evenly, you need to join them together with a hosepipe at the bottom of the barrel, cutting holes and fitting washers. If you put the holes at the top of the barrels, when the first barrel is full the overspill fills the second, then the third.
    To avoid cutting any of your butts, put a down pipe in each of your butts, join them together at the top with a piece of guttering. Your feeder pipe drains into this gutter, which will fill all three butts generally equally.

    Depends what you can obtain/womble/re-use.

  2. Thanks Dave.
    I am thinking of sinking the barrels in the ground to give me a little more space in the greenhouse in which case I will just link the tops so they overflow into one another. One of the reasons for having the barrels in the greenhouse was to help regulate the temperature by day and by night but this will not work so will if they are sunk in the ground so I might rig up a heat exchanger in the top of the greenhouse and pump the water from the barrels, through the heat exchanger and back to the barrels. This will take away some of the heat of the day and release it at night. What do you think?

  3. Looking good Aman. I now need to setup my water catchment system for the greenhouse. The more things grow the more water the require and the more using just a watering can becomes a pain!

    • I know what you mean. Another problem we have is we do not live on site so we do have to try and get to the allotment every day in order to make sure the vents are opened in the morning and closed at night and to make sure everything is watered. I would love to set up some automatic vents and watering systems. I have a small solar panel on the shed roof. I am going to add another three panels over the next few weeks to run a small pump on a timer to water the plants. I need to build a charge controller first.


  4. Borrow a copy of Dick Strawbridge, It isn’t easy being green.
    He talks about heatsinks and 12volt fans in a greenhouse to regulate the heat.
    Burying the water barrels will make them less efficient as storage heaters, but they will still be better than no barrels

  5. You guys are a lot more organized than me. And a great wee blog…

  6. Thank you Jonny that is high praise indeed coming from you. I love your growing in a nutshell blog. Who does the drawings for that blog?


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