Plastic grow tunnels are a great way to get a jump on the spring gardening season. However, the metal hoops and plastic can be unwieldy to set up and store. An England-based company, Haxnicks Ltd., has the answer. Its Easy Tunnel has galvanized steel hoops securely attached to tough UV-stabilized clear polyethylene sheeting, creating an accordion-like structure that moves as one unit. All you have to do is push the metal hoop on one end of the tunnel into the ground, pull and extend the plastic and hoops, and secure the other end by pushing the last hoop into the soil. Several tunnels can be connected by overlapping their ends.
Depending on the weather, vents at each end of the tunnel can be opened during the day and closed at night. Since the tunnel is all one unit, it's easy to remove and fold up, and takes up little storage space. Haxnicks also has tunnels made from high-density netting and from polypropylene fleece. The fleece allows in water, air, and sunlight but keeps out insects, while the netting provides some shade and protects plants from animals.
Easy Tunnel is available in two sizes: medium ($26.95) is 10 feet long and accommodates plants up to 11-1/2 inches tall; large ($39.95) is 13 feet long and 17-1/4 inches tall. Both are available through Gardener's Supply Company, (800) 863-1700, www.gardeners.com.