First Summer in the Polytunnel

2019 is our first summer having the Polytunnel and we’re sharing our successes and failures that came along with it. We have absolutely loved it and couldn’t have hoped for better results when it comes to our growing goals. We did come across some challenges including Managing the Environment. But we also learnt that we’re able to grow a whole new load of plants that we previously couldn’t!

Digging our first ever crop of Sweet Potato!

A note on Ventilation and Humidy problems and benefits

The plastics eliminate all wind. Which in turn means higher humidity. In Spring we removed the plastics from the doors, leaving just an insect netting, so that at night we can close the doors and still be ventilated. Opening the doors is the obvious answer but our British Summer was lovely and on a windless day with outside temperatures of 28c we were getting regular 55celsius in the heat of the day and even temperatures of above 30c before 9am!!

Suddenly trying to work inside is most tiring in this environment and watering is best done in the early morning or evenings when temperatures are cooler.

We salvaged an extractor fan from the old greenhouses which we installed to the Polytunnel door. This was not as powerful as we had hoped but did managed to knock a few degrees off the general temperate and suck out some of that hot air.

We’re planning a better system for the future which includes extractor fans and solar energy. Remembering that our tunnel is 22×6 metres, it’s a big space to manage.

We had to run the fan from an extension lead but now we are in the process of updating the electrics, we will have electric in the Polytunnel next year and we’re wondering if the fan might even be more powerful than we thought.

What plants were we able to grow in our new environment?

Back in early Spring, the boys installed two raised beds with an overhead trellis at the bottom of the tunnel. Both beds were then filled halfway with logs and branches before being covered with compost. This is also known as ‘Hugelkultur‘ which translates a ‘hill grown’ is not often heard of let alone being used in the everyday garden. The idea is that the organic matter slowly decays over many years adding goodness to your soil but also holding many nutrient, which the plant roots have access to! From there we let the microbiorganisms to the rest.

We also added BioChar which we created in our mini kiln. Along with some Manure and Worm castings our new beds were ready for their first trial.

We love a bit of companion planting and experimented by planting chillies, sweet peppers, tomatoes, cucumber, sweet potato, passionfruit, cantaloupe Melon, watermelon and lots of annual herbs.

Plants looking healthy after settling in for a couple weeks
A mid-summer day
Our first Ripe tomato came in Mid June! A wonderfully messy looking variety called ‘Latah’ bred for short summers.
A baby Cantaloupe Melon
A little watermelon found a comfy spot. It grew to about football size!

It was our first time having homegrown Melons and Watermelons but they were the best I ever tasted!

A makeshift t-shirt hammock takes the weight off the Watermelon plant
Cantaloupe Melon ‘Minnesota Midget’ grew really happily and gave a great yield. We’ve saved the seeds for next year!
Passion fruit supplied by a good friend of ours who is Portuguese and picked up some seeds for us on his last trip home!

The passion fruit have got several fruit waiting to ripen and is still throwing new flowers out long in to late summer.

Moringa The Moringa trees grown from seed earlier this year are doing very well. We put a few out to the greenhouse in midsummer but those inside the Polytunnel are much healthier and are even budding up!

The first time we had beautiful red ripe Sweet Peppers in Early August

3 very different types of Sweet Pepper
We took some of our Sweet Peppers to our flower sale in summer and we sold out!

Chilli peppers are one of are favourite plants to grow and this year we had more success then ever!

THE CHILLI LINE UP

Keep an eye on our blog as we will soon be sharing our experiences from this years chilli and sweet pepper growing season, including which varieties we grew and how well they performed!

Every year we look forward to growing tomatoes and this year we were able to compare those grown in the vegetable garden, to those grown in the polytunnel.

One group of Tomatoes undergoing experiment in the polytunnel

When the first tomato flowers set we get very excited over here as it’s one of our favourite crops! We had around 6 or 7 varieties this year and really have a lot to say about them! Our tomato harvest was so plentiful we were able to preserve many for later use and also as a fresh ingredient in our Chilli Sauces!

By mid summer we were forcing our harvests upon innocent friends and family.

Starting seeds inside the Polytunnel with very quick germination rates

Sowing seeds in succession ensure a constant crop

Seeds were being started in the Polytunnel throughout summer and some seeds were coming through in just 2 days! This is great for herbs and salad crops that are being harvested daily and need replacing!

Click here to read about the Vegetable Garden that’s thriving inside the old greenhouse

  • First Summer in the Polytunnel

    November 17, 2019 by

    2019 is our first summer having the Polytunnel and we’re sharing our successes and failures that came along with it. We have absolutely loved it and couldn’t have hoped for better results when it comes to our growing goals. We did come across some challenges including Managing the Environment. But we also learnt that we’re able… Read more

  • Installing the Polytunnels

    April 16, 2019 by

    Summer 2018 Before we went for it and installed the tunnels we did a lot of research and tried to avoid the common fails, but we still had some epic ones including ripping a hole in the plastic! Luckily for us we already had the steel hoops in the ground as it was used many… Read more

  • First winter in the polytunnel

    April 11, 2019 by

    In summer 2018 we invested in two 22m long polytunnels which we use to over winter plants, start seedlings off and house young plants. Maintaining a constant temperature inside the tunnel is difficult as we currrently do not have any heating system in place. Ideas for next winter especially, we are considering an indoor compost… Read more

  • Chilli and Sweet Pepper harvesting in November

    November 26, 2018 by

    Misty mornings and a continuous fire means winter is well on its way. This is our first winter on the land, and we have semi-prepared. November has been an interesting month in the garden, bringing us great crops! we harvested the remainder of our chilli and sweet pepper plants and had a huge amount of… Read more

  • The Journey Begins

    November 25, 2018 by

    From City to Rural Homegrownandhopeful is the start of a a new chapter in which we said yes to an amazing opportunity to change our life from city to rural. We have taken on a small plot of land in the beautiful South of England where we are growing our own fruit and vegetables, and… Read more

View all posts

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close