- The process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative
- A sudden brilliant or timely idea
About this time last year I attended a course with Charles Dowding at his no dig market garden and home in Somerset. This is when my love of polytunnels began!
Coincidentally only a few weeks later a notice advertising a brand new polytunnel for sale went up on the allotment notice board and at that moment I knew it was for me! A few phone calls later and it was mine. Hooray!
In the following weeks until I was able to get my hands on it I did quite a lot of research. I’d heard horror stories of tunnels ripping and bending out of shape so I wanted to make sure I gave it the best possible chance and weather proofing!
So far (when others haven’t) it’s survived the winter snow, storms Aileen, Ophelia, Brian, Caroline, Dylan, Eleanor, Fionn, David and Georgina. Roll on storm Hecktor I say!
Of course I didn’t just make these names up. If you want to know more about how the UK names it’s storms, the Met office have a Storm Centre with all the info.
My Top Tips
1) buy some additional polytunnel/marquee ground pegs for about £20 for 4.
2) I drove wooden stakes into each corner and cable tied the frame to it. These two things alone mean it shouldn’t go flying in the wind.
3) Wrap grey pipe cladding around the frame. It’s dead cheap and stops the plastic rubbing against the frame so less chance of tearing.
4) Dig a trench around the outside and bury the plastic cover in the soil. This means that no high winds can get under and blow the plastic off.
Growing something new
The best thing about having a tunnel is that its allowed me to grow some amazing crops that I wouldn’t have been able to achieve as successfully outside at the hands of our Great British weather. I’ve also been able to continue to grow through the winter with lettuce, garlic, spinach and rocket.
Keeping on top of watering
As essential as it is to water regularly, working 5 days a week means that it’s not always possible to keep on top of it and with the additional heat inside the tunnel this was something I needed to address. My solution was an irrigation system attached to a waterbutt and now all I have to do is fill up the butt which slowly irrigates the beds with 100L of water through a seeping tube.
So at the moment the tunnel is full of seedlings and first early potatoes. I’ve also added my mini greenhouse having recently kitted it out with trays and capillary matting, again to help retain water!
Having had a year with my polytunnel I can’t ever imagine gardening without one. Who knew a little green plastic tunnel could make you so happy!