Make the most of your polytunnel and follow the suggestions and ideas below. Do email us on firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be pleased to add your ideas to this popular web page
Air We suggest that you have doors both ends. Open both ends of your polytunnel to make sure you get adequate ventilation. Carbon dioxide [CO2] is a tiny part of the air we breathe; yet it is vital for the energy process.
Bees and Butterflies need your help, ideally native and wild flowers. In our polytunnels we see many bumble bees, honey bees, hover flies and butterflies on the lavender, broad beans, dahlias, marigolds feverfew, fennel, artichoke, aubergines, squash, runner beans, sweet peas, to name a few
Canes made of bamboo provide good supports for sweet peas, cucumbers, tomatoes, runner beans, pumpkins, courgettes. Crop Bar sets however give even better support. Two Crop Bar sets assembled at adjacent hoops with wires across can keep the fast growing and heavy crops under control and easy to pick.
Enjoyment A polytunnel allows you the grower to garden anytime, even in those dark winter evenings. A polytunnel provides better weather protection because of the much reduced risk of rain, hail, and frost and snow damage. It is possible to grow crops that you are unable to grow in your own open ground.
Five Star Undercover Recipe book, contact us for your free copy and make delicious food straight from your polytunnel
Frost Protection Polythene covering on a cold night reaches the outside temperature, so if frost protection is an important requirement place a polytunnel fleece cover directly over the crops. Bright frosty days could bring the inside temperature up to 40 degrees, then below freezing at night. Adequate ventilation helps keep an even temperature.
Growing Crops in a polytunnel All spring, summer and autumn bedding plants and basket annual plants.Spring and summer vegetables.Sun loving and variegated nursery stock plants.Strawberry plants.All organically grown crops.All crops where the polytunnel is to be heated.Over wintered vegetable produce including lettuce, peppers, and courgette.
Holes in my cabbages Pick off the eggs as soon as you see them, and then cover with shade netting, else you are left with looking at using biological controls that infect the eggs with a disease, or chemical control over a period of several weeks.
Islands such as the Shetlands and Orkneys are great places to install a polytunnel, it is an excellent wind shelter.
Japanese knot weed has to be eradicated by your local council, or under their guidance.
Kew Gardens Go to their web site to see information about vegetables, fungi, pumpkins, exotic plants, and all their exhibitions.
Light All coverings no matter how transparent affect the amount of light entering a polytunnel. Polythene covering usually allows about 90 percent of light through, and far less if the film is cloudy and old.This cloudiness can be an advantage in the summer if high-density light affects young fragile plants.
Make your planting, growing, picking and eating a joyful time undercover and remember to relax and have fun.
Netting material can be used as a shading material inside the polytunnel and as a side ventilation.
Nutrients The plants take up nutrients when they are in a solution.Fertilisers applied to a dry soil have no effect until rainwater or irrigation system water washes the fertiliser down to the roots.It is possible to control the nutrient supply more easily for plants grown in a polytunnel.This means that plants are freer from pest and disease, and more likely to be healthier.
Other uses for a Polytunnel Animal housing – pigs, sheep, goats, guinea pigs, rabbits. Leisure vehicles – boats, caravans, motor caravans. Bird shelters – parrots, chickens, and ducks. Sundries – garden machinery, drying timber logs, swimming pool covers
Potting up can be done in one part of the polytunnel, buy our staging sets for this, and choose your own platform
Quince is self fertile so no need for more than one to pollinate. The tree needs fertile deep rich soil in a warm sheltered spot as prone to frost so cover with polytunnel fleece, pick when a golden colour, and they will store for ages as they have a tough skin. Stake the tree and feed and mulch, pruning in the winter months.
Raised Beds are popular in a polytunnel, maybe for different soil and compost for a variety of plants. Some customers have very poor soil or on shale.Your raised beds can be made at s various heights and added to depending upon the plants grown.
Save your seeds, the way we do First of all save the seeds from healthy crops, else not much point, and let dry on the plant. Once the outer casing starts to shrivel, e.g. poppies, the seeds rattle, they are ready. Marigolds for example, you with have to pick off the heads and separate. Cut off the pods and put them in a paper bag, label them. If you need to use the complete plant, pull up from the root, turn upside down, cover the heads in the paper bags, tie them up and store them in a dry place for a few weeks. We use a wooden shed that is lined with two inch insulation, and airing cupboards. When the seeds are completely dry put them in separate envelopes, in an air tight container such as a jam jar, and label.
Survival of plants Plants can more easily survive low temperatures as energy is trapped inside your polytunnel and absorbed. The season is typically extended by two to three weeks depending on the crop and the season. The soil and air inside is sufficient to support more crop growth.
Think about what you like to grow and start with these. Many growers like radish and lettuce, carrots and onions, rhubarb and potatoes, with annuals such as marigolds nastersiums snap dragon and poached egg plants.
Undercover in the winter in your polytunnel will allow you to do jobs in the dry. Take the time to plant up new varieties you always wanted to test, check the crop fleece cover is on your vunerable crops, keep the soil and storage items well maintained and free of any pests.
Variety is the spice of life so while keeping to your favourites try different cucumber and tomato varieties, red hot chillies, a fig tree, sweet corn, ornamental guords, medicinal herbs and many more.
Warmth The polytunnel makes use of the greenhouse effect to trap heat energy. Radiation from the sun is trapped by the polythene covering, and absorbed by the inside materials; pots, tools, structure etc. As the night falls, and the outdoor temperature drops, so the inside materials release the trapped.Energy as radiation or heat.
Watering The only water to be in a polytunnel apart from condensation is by irrigation. Water can be supplied at ground level and is very effective by using the leaky hose method. For absolute control of the moisture supplied to the plants an irrigation system may be used
Wind Protection Extension of the growing season is aided by the polytunnel being a protection from cool winds, and trapping daytime warmth. The soil and air will be enough inside to support growth when it has stopped outside. Use the Wind Break Shade netting to protect cucumbers inside amd rasberry canes outside
Xanthoceras is a decidous bush that prefers full sun and sheltered from the frost and winds, so ideal to grow in your polytunnel
Yucca filamotosa is a dwarf evergreen with wonderful white / creamy flowery spikes, and suited well drained soil, the dry, and sun, with soil not too fertile
Zandedeshaia or Arum lily is a tuberous plant with bright coloured flowers in May June and July positioned in rich well drained fertile soil