What is Better; Greenhouse, Poly Tunnel or Cold Frame or Grokurv

In this article we compare the difference between a Greenhouse, Polytunnel, and a Cold Frame. Discover which one suits your needs best for growing plants. We also have a look at what a Grokurv® is and compare the combined benefits of this modern combination polytunnel greenhouse.

Quick Read? You can skip down to our conclusion if you are in a hurry, where we summarise our thoughts. Click here to skip to conclusion: What is Better; Poly Tunnel, Greenhouse or Cold Frame?  

As we compare the benefits between these various greenhouses, polytunnels and cold frame structures, we have set out a brief explanation for each, so we understand what all of these four Greenhouse-type products are:

What is a Greenhouse?

For many years people have used Greenhouses to plant and grow their flowers, fruit and vegetables. A Greenhouse is normally made from a lightweight metal frame and then glazed with thin glass. The glass traps the heat from the sunlight and retains the solar energy within the greenhouse creating a warm environment for plants to grow in, and protects against frost or heavy rain damage.

Advantages of a Greenhouse:

  • Greenhouses let in sunlight to encourage plant growth
  • Retains warmth creating enhanced plant growth climate
  • Can be big enough to access inside

Disadvantages of a Greenhouse:

  • Tend to be made from glass which can break and be dangerous – See plastic alternative glazing options that you may want to consider.
  • Square structure is vulnerable to high winds and impact
  • Relatively expensive
  • Heavy structure
  • Can’t be easily repositioned

Greenhouse with Axgard from Clear Amber Shop

What is a Poly Tunnel?

A Poly Tunnel is normally made from curved hoop-like frames which then have polythene stretched over them to create a clear roof. The polythene acts similar to the glass of a greenhouse where heat entering the structure is trapped inside creating a warmer climate for plants to grow in.

Advantages of a Poly Tunnel:

  • Polytunnels let in sunlight to encourage plant growth
  • Retain warmth creating enhanced plant growing climate
  • Polythene sheeting doesn’t break like glass

Disadvantages of a Poly Tunnel:

  • Polythene sheeting can tear or rip
  • Polythene is not very transparent so less light transmission
  • Take up a lot of space – not suitable for small gardens

Poly tunnel from Clear Amber Shop

What is a Cold Frame?

For small plants and seedlings, Cold Frames are a great solution. Cold Frames are small box-shaped frames with glass or plastic panels, which act similarly to Polytunnels or Greenhouses. They retain heat and protect the plants from frost and any harsh weather in the same way, however, they are much smaller and only suitable for small plants or seedlings, and sometimes can be fiddly to access.

Advantages of a Cold Frame:

  • Cold Frames let in sunlight to encourage plant growth
  • Retain warmth creating enhanced plant growth climate
  • Lower cost than a Greenhouse or Polytunnel
  • Suitable for small gardens

Disadvantages of a Cold Frame:

  • Glass versions can break and be dangerous
  • Square Structure is vulnerable to high winds
  • Small size restricts access
  • Only suitable for smaller plants
Cold frame with Axiome from Clear Amber Shop

What is a Grokurv?

A Grokurv is a modern mini grow tunnel which combines the benefits of a greenhouse, a polytunnel and a cold frame all in one, and has some additional benefits too! A Grokurv is a curved shape structure made from very strong clear plastic. The patented design and curved shape of the Grokurv structure provides excellent strength. Also, the lightweight structure means the Grokurv can be easily re-positioned allowing for a phased growing calendar to provide crops that become ripe across a chosen timeframe.

Advantages of a Grokurv:

  • Lower cost than a Greenhouse or Polytunnel
  • Manufactured with very strong plastic which doesn’t break like glass
  • Safe for Children and Pets
  • Let’s in sunlight to encourage plant growth
  • Retains warmth creating enhanced plant growth climate
  • Suitable for small gardens
  • Can be easily re-positioned as required around the garden
  • As light weight as a cold frame so can be lifted off area for greater access
  • Made from fire-resistant plastic
  • Curved sides and strong plastic for excellent wind resistance
  • Combines advantages of Polytunnels, Greenhouses and Cold Frames

Disadvantages of a Grokurv:

  • Doesn’t allow for full standing height unless raised on a frame
  • Doesn’t have full width ends
Grokurv grow tunnel from clear amber shop

Conclusion: What is Better; Poly Tunnel, Greenhouse or Cold Frame?  

So, now getting back to the question of which one is best. To help you get prepared to the next growing season, we have set out which greenhouse-type product is best for each feature below:

  • Best for Height: Greenhouse
  • Best for Longevity: Grokurv
  • Best for Cost: Cold Frame
  • Best for Safety: Grokurv
  • Best for Impact Strength: Grokurv
  • Best use for larger farm areas: Polytunnel
  • Best for overall Greenhouse-type solution: Grokurv

On balance, Grokurv comes out as the overall winner as the best all-round growing solution for domestic garden applications. Grokurv has the advantages of being the most versatile and robust solution out of all four options. Grokurv are also completely priced, making a very cheap Greenhouse that will last for a long time.  

Also, for any growing tunnel or small greenhouse option, safety should be a top priority. Glass greenhouses are very dangerous for young children, elderly people and pets who could seriously harm themselves on the greenhouse glass that breaks so easily. In addition to the added safety of this curved roof type greenhouse, the strong shatterproof plastic used to manufacture a Grokurv will not get smashed by accidental knocks from tools falling over, or a missed shot with a football, saving you time and money. Accidents like these on a Greenhouse would cause damage and danger that are simply avoided by choosing a Grokurv.

Extra Info: How Can I Make the Glass in My Greenhouse Safe?

Unfortunately, Greenhouse Glass is always going to be unsafe, so if you are wanting to to save regular glazing repairs, then the best option is to choose one of the 5 Alternative Greenhouse Plastic Options such as a virtually unbreakable clear solid plastic that will make your greenhouse safer.

Related Blog Articles:

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