Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Building a Hazel Bender Polytunnel

I have a small greenhouse, where things grow well, quick and early, so I decided to make a polytunnel. Inspired somewhat by the Frugal Queen.

I have enough hazel poles growing, so I decided to use that, rather than the iron hoops they provide, so as to save £200, to be able to adapt to the slope of my land, and because I can.

Here's how it is done:

First, cut some poles (above). Shave the bark off with a vegetable peeler:

Next, stick them in the ground, bend them over and lash them together with baling twine (I have made up a song about baling twine). Don't worry if it is a bit wobbly, it gains rigidity from the covering.

Split a felled tree trunk into 4 (I used sycamore because it was already down. It took about 2 minutes to split it. (Don't even bother to think about splitting cherry - that takes more like 2 days).

Use an adze to trim the wood. This takes a very long time but it is deeply satisfying. This makes to door frames (see above).

Ignore any rabbits that offer to help. They are unreliable.

Et voila. Robert, as the French say, is votre oncle.

That's my younger son Laurence in the doorway.

Everyone asks me what I'm going to grow in it. I don't know. Things that like warmth I suppose. Melons. Tomatoes.

See Frugal in Cornwall to read more of this kind of stuff.


Richard Lawson said...

After 2 years, the hazel becomes brittle, and the structure begins to break up. However, it is possible simply to put new green struts in place and carry on.

Richard Lawson said...

But after three years, a big wind will reduce the whole structure to a pile of bits. So the hazel has gone up the chimney (dry, burns well) and the polythene is put to good use keeping the rain off the wood stacks.