How to build a fruit cage or polytunnel

Polytunnel 02 A while ago I posted a plan for building your own fruit cage or polytunnel. To read about and view the plan click here.

And now here’s a photo of the finished article (click to enlarge)… well, the ends have yet to be built but I’m still thinking about that. There’s some advantages to being able to open the ends wide… lets pollinating insects in, easier to keep the inside airy and can bring compost in on the wheelbarrow. Major disadvantage is the feathered fiends take a great interest in what’s going on inside the tunnel… ‘he can’t have expended all this effort and there not be something in it for us’ type thoughts. I need something on each end that can be opened up.

Just finished planting tomatoes, butternut squash and cucumber in the tunnel to accompany the raspberry bushes, all of which should benefit from the slightly warmer and stiller atmosphere inside. Covered the ground with hessian backed carpet to keep down the weeds and retain moisture, so all the plants have been planted through the carpet. Rain does come through the covering scaffold netting and the carpet. Aiming to grow a vine inside as well… got visions of it strung along the full length of the tunnel with loads of grapes hanging.

Using water piping for the frame is already proving useful. Eyehole screws easily screwed into the plastic piping so I could thread twine through them to string the tomatoes up. I’m pretty hopeful the tunnel will give me a new set of opportunities to grow things and extend the growing season. Total cost less than £50 for a 10 metre by 3 metre tunnel, the largest cost being the scaffold netting. More photos at the foot of this post.

The plot has never looked tidier since wife Linda has started to accompany me on visits. She likes weeding… yes, you did read that correctly. If I’d been given a free wish to make things more enjoyable on the plot that would have been it… to get an assistant who actually liked keeping things tidy. So while I potter around planting and building things Linda pulls unwanted things up.

Son in law Chris delivered about 20 four meter long planks of treated pine excess to requirements on his current carpentry job. Thinking about building a cowboy style veranda on the front of the shed in the space currently reserved for sitting out. I’ve always dreamed of lounging with my boots up on the veranda rail watching the sun set, glass of wine in hand. Only problem is the shed front faces the wrong way. Will have to give it some thought… not only orientation, but when I’ll get it done. Got to get the rest of the front plot dug over and weeded for next Spring, and also wanted to dig a wildlife pond with a clay lining. Looks like I’m still going to be constructing things well into 2012!

Oh, and grandson Connor has things planned for me as a well. The family accompanied Chris and the planks and Connor went to inspect development of the tree house (sans tree). Immediately he spotted a small plank missing, which I’d purloined as part of the tunnel construction. That lad’s got eyes like an eagle and the memory of an elephant! As part of his appraisal he decided I needed to move one of the beehive compost bins to make room for the moat he wants dug around the den. Add it to the list Connor.

Had a lovely Father’s Day surprise last Sunday. Walked down to St Ives with Linda to watch the civil war re-enactments as part of the 900 year celebrations for the town. Should have spotted something was funny… for example Linda needing to slowly tie both shoe laces when we were on Holt Island. Becky and Beth had fixed up for us all to go to a barbeque at Slepe Hall. Had to arrive at 13:00 for it to be a surprise. Had a wonderful afternoon with the family. The best kind of surprise.

Think I might have overdone it a bit this week on the photos and video below, but hope you enjoy them. Click to enlarge.

Oh, and by the way… COME ON ENGLAND! for Sunday’s World Cup football match against Germany.

Sammy and Paige try to throw their soft toys onto the pergola... Connor's using my pullover

My mad chickens when they realise there's spaghetti on the menu tonight

Part of the St Ives 900 year celebrations... civil war roundheads let off a volley


  1. Anonymous11:52 pm

    What an amazing Polytunnel/Fruit Cage, I am jealous. TC wont let us construct anything on our plots - that's life.

    Good Luck with your crops!

  2. Hi just stumbled across your blog, loved the chicken video, my girls are just the same when their favourite food is about, lol

  3. Just stumbled across your blog - it has had me laughing out loud! Love the fruit cage - am going to try to construct one of these soon.

  4. That's a healthy plum! That is one benefit of building fruit cage for the plants. They will be protected from animals and humans that can destroy them.


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