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Chez

Polytunnel? Validate me please.

Should I get a polytunnel? I can irrigate it with the run off from the roof, via the duckpond and it would be really nice not to have to trek up and down to Ma's to look after stuff and be in control of our own destiny. I've got space for something eight foot wide by about fifteen feet long.

I'd want to grow peppers, squash and sweet potatoes, in the ground rather than in pots. I've also got a small eight by six greenhouse that I can use to start things off.
Slim

Sounds to me like it'd be worth doing

Edit: Just go as tall as you can. If you're going to put one in, maximize the volume of air space to the greatest extent possible. Helps retain heat better, and makes it a lot easier to walk around in.
sean

Not sure about the control of your own destiny argument: One, a polytunnel doesn't guarantee that. Two, how often does your mother actually hold your half-hardy vegetable crops to ransom?
Chez

It's a complex, emotive ransom system based on guilt, duty and the Lutheran work ethic.
onemanband

you could keep a kayak in it.
Green Rosie

You'll need some-one to water it every day in hot weather if you are away.
If you do get one and succeed in growing sweet potatoes please tell me your secret as I have never managed to get anything worth eating.
OtleyLad

There's a host of crops that grow more reliably in a polytunnel (as it keeps off cold winds and a little frost). Certainly your peppers and squash. Toms do well too. Earlier early spuds (then followed by your squash). All the broccolis. Its a big list.

I've had no luck with seet potatoes though.

Watering can take up a lot of time - it never rains in a tunnel (my 2 tunnels would take 45 minutes each day). After 5 years I got a drip watering system rigged to a hose pipe. Watering is now just turning on the tap and turning it off an hour or two later (much easier on whoever is watering if you are away!). So wish I'd done it before - they are cheap too (under 20 for a tunnel).

Lastly polytunnels are the place to be gardening when its cold and wet outside!
Chez

The outflow from the duck pond runs in land drain pipes that run down the slight slope I'm thinking about siting it on, currently watering raised beds. When the duck pond tap gets turned on every day, it would self water to an extent. I can also rag a shed load of the old drip watering pipe from Ma's commercial tomato houses and set that up from the water butt.

We have permission from the Parish to stay in the house now, and I've got more options to explore than before. Also, a gardener who comes to help me Smile
Slim


Watering can take up a lot of time - it never rains in a tunnel (my 2 tunnels would take 45 minutes each day). After 5 years I got a drip watering system rigged to a hose pipe. Watering is now just turning on the tap and turning it off an hour or two later (much easier on whoever is watering if you are away!). So wish I'd done it before - they are cheap too (under 20 for a tunnel).


You could throw a timer on there and then you wouldn't even need to come back out to turn off the tap! Wink
Shan

Go for it and automate as much as possible.
roobarb

If you are considering getting a PT then there are a couple of good books by Mike Gatter and Andy McKee, including How to Grow Food in Your Polytunnel, which is invaluable for getting the most out of your tunnel, including sweet potatoes....

Not usually one for bragging, but here is my success with sweet potatoes in the PT from 2015. Not quite so good in 2016, which I put down to a cooler and duller summer. (apologies for the large images)


I believe the key to growing sweet potatoes in the PT is good soil, and not allowing the vines to touch the ground, where they will re-root and take energy away from the tubers.

wellington womble

Get one (now I want one)

Put a seat in it and take coffee out there. It only lets the nice weather in, and would be a lovely place to hide, erm, relax.
Green Rosie

I use this book: https://www.fruugo.fr/the-polytunnel-book-by-joyce-russell-ben-russell/p-8075855-17383657?gclid=CJqal_zyptECFRITGwodzc8HdQ
OtleyLad

If I remember correctly you get a free growing book with orders from First Tunnels (who I would recommend).
Have to say I have ended up with 3 Polytunnel growing books (gifts and freebees) and they are pretty useless - any decent growing book tells you how to grow stuff (if you didn't know already) and there's not much different about growing in a polytunnel.
Because the seasons are extended either side you can aim to grow successional crops if you sow replacement crops at the right time and plant them out after clearing previous crops. Simples really.
Green Rosie

The free book from First Tunnel (who I would highly recommend too) is as good as useless IMHO Rolling Eyes
Slim

In light of kayak storage pictures, I'm curious how many folks over your way grow cold hardy greens in their poly-tunnels this time of year?

It's not really enough sunlight to get growth, but if you establish them in the late fall, they charge forward as days start lengthening in February.

Eliot Coleman's books are sort of the bible of winter growing over here
https://www.amazon.com/Eliot-Coleman/e/B000APSTD0
Shan

Get one (now I want one)

Put a seat in it and take coffee out there. It only lets the nice weather in, and would be a lovely place to hide, erm, relax.


When Mr Shan's brother & sister-in-law stayed with us, I regularly hid/relaxed in the greenhouse. I knew the lazy buggers would never come looking for me.
Nick

In light of kayak storage pictures, I'm curious how many folks over your way grow cold hardy greens in their poly-tunnels this time of year?

It's not really enough sunlight to get growth, but if you establish them in the late fall, they charge forward as days start lengthening in February.

Eliot Coleman's books are sort of the bible of winter growing over here
https://www.amazon.com/Eliot-Coleman/e/B000APSTD0

Cold hardy greens? Kale and the like?

We don't let people who grow kale have internet access. They're not good people.
Slim

In light of kayak storage pictures, I'm curious how many folks over your way grow cold hardy greens in their poly-tunnels this time of year?

It's not really enough sunlight to get growth, but if you establish them in the late fall, they charge forward as days start lengthening in February.

Eliot Coleman's books are sort of the bible of winter growing over here
https://www.amazon.com/Eliot-Coleman/e/B000APSTD0

Cold hardy greens? Kale and the like?

We don't let people who grow kale have internet access. They're not good people.

Oh you innocent wee babe tossing out kale like it's the only cold hardy green!

The big money is in spinach but lettuces, beet greens, chard, corn mache, claytonia, mustard greens, mizuna, pac choi/tat soi/bok choy/etc are all grown!

Some people do cilantro, or overwinter rosemary and/or parsley (which we can't normally do here)

Your crazy notion of sprouting broccoli is only now just starting to catch on over here. Apologies for the following sentence: I was the only person I knew, that knew of purple sprouting broccoli about 5 or 6 years ago, and I only knew about because I've seen you folk mention it here!
Nick

Be the smart person. Don't cook it in water. Cook it in fat, with red chilli. Makes it even better.

Knob of butter, drop of olive oil. Sweat it in that for about four minutes and sprinkle with dried chilli flakes and minced fresh red chilli. Turns it into an amazing dish.
sean

I was the only person I knew, that knew of purple sprouting broccoli about 5 or 6 years ago, and I only knew about because I've seen you folk mention it here!

If you know about saag too then our work here is done.
dpack

Laughing Slim

I was the only person I knew, that knew of purple sprouting broccoli about 5 or 6 years ago, and I only knew about because I've seen you folk mention it here!

If you know about saag too then our work here is done.

sprouting broccoli saag? All I know about saag is saag paneer and that is few and far between these parts
Nick

Then we're not done with your education. Buckle up. I'll fetch Tahir. Shan

In light of kayak storage pictures, I'm curious how many folks over your way grow cold hardy greens in their poly-tunnels this time of year?

It's not really enough sunlight to get growth, but if you establish them in the late fall, they charge forward as days start lengthening in February.

Eliot Coleman's books are sort of the bible of winter growing over here
https://www.amazon.com/Eliot-Coleman/e/B000APSTD0

Cold hardy greens? Kale and the like?

We don't let people who grow kale have internet access. They're not good people.
Not been very diligent have you? I grow kale and I eat it and I like it! I ALSO grow Swiss Chard. Laughing
Nick

The post above me is just white noise. Is there a problem? Shan

SWISS CHARD KALE SWISS CHARD KALE SWISS CHARD KALE SWISS CHARD KALE SWISS CHARD KALE SWISS CHARD KALE SWISS CHARD KALE SWISS CHARD KALE SWISS CHARD KALE SWISS CHARD KALE
Laughing
Nick

Let this be a warning to you kids. Be like Zammo. Just say no (to kale). Slim

Luckily he won't be able to read this, but wait until Nick hears that my OH makes us kale smoothies almost every morning. That's right, we even drink the stuff! (plus a bunch of fruit, it tastes great and not like sucking down lawn clippings the way I imagined it would the first time I tried) Shan

I might have to try that! Well, as long as it tastes nothing like wheat grass. Disgusting stuff. Slim

In a blender: Pint of water, handful of kale leaves (mid-ribs removed - we use lacinato kale), two bananas, and a mango (or frozen berries, or what have you). Makes a pint for each of us. Comes out dark green, or lighter green if a lot of fruit, or somewhat gross purpley if a lot of dark berries. gregotyn

I grew purple sprouting for 20 years Slim, though not in the last 20 years. One of the best ever vegetables IMHO. Mistress Rose

I grow curly kale and purple sprouting broccoli as the main cabbages as they seem to be the ones that do best in our soil. Useful through the winter too. Chez

We have some Daubeton's Kale, the perennial stuff, doing quite well and I have got some wild cabbage I'm going to put in under the apple trees. Purple sprouting I have loads of - it's one of our family staples.

You're all bonkers, btw.
Shan

We have some Daubeton's Kale, the perennial stuff, doing quite well and I have got some wild cabbage I'm going to put in under the apple trees. Purple sprouting I have loads of - it's one of our family staples.

You're all bonkers, btw.

Said the pot to the kettle...
gregotyn

I think you may have meant "WE are all bonkers", Chez, meaning your gang, not all on D.S. surely? Just trying to get you out of the deep FYM.... wellington womble

Chez takes great delight in finding anyone even slightly more bonkers than she is. Don't burst her bubble! Mistress Rose

Laughing

Must have a look for the Daubetons Kale.
Slim

I came across this book a few months ago, not sure why I didn't think to post it here earlier

http://www.chelseagreen.com/the-forest-garden-greenhouse

Some really interesting discussion of forcing warm daytime air under the soil as thermal storage. Also incorporation of a sauna with the greenhouse catching waste heat. Fun things to think about
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