We’ve had a very busy few weeks here. I used to have a small corner of my old garden as a vegetable patch. It was lined by hawthorn and blackthorn hedges, had a few raised beds and a small greenhouse. I used to love the greenhouse and was always pottering away in there. I would grow tomatoes, peppers, and my annual seeds in there, and at this time of year it was positively bursting with plants. Last year was torture not having one and I’d decided it would be great if I could go one step further and invest in a polytunnel. This would enable us to grow more things and extend the growing season.
As is becoming the norm around here, we managed to stumble upon someone who was wanting to get rid of there polytunnel and they were happy to help us move it. Bingo! We had great fun, the four of us trying to move the frame, still assembled down a hill, through a young wood, over fences and through gates, and finally down our lane into the paddock. Luckily the only traffic we met was the postman who happily waited at our house, laughing away at the sight of a polytunnel frame being walked down the lane!
And so the polytunnel stood in the paddock for a few weeks, Being moved slightly from time to time to make sure it was in the right position. I managed to order a new cover and some doors for it and we waited eagerly for them to arrive. Unfortunately, they too sat waiting for a while as the weather wasn’t great and I knew with just two of us it would take a few days to get it all finished. I decided to make a start on digging the trenches around the base in an effort to save time when we came to put the cover on. Not such a great idea in hindsight, as it meant we had to trample all over it during construction! Another bright idea which turned out to be a mistake was that I thought it would be good to ensure the trench was as large a possible to make sure the wind didn’t take the cover away! Well, it took all my effort and strength to dig two of the trenches – it transpires they were about three times wider than they needed to be! No wonder it was such hard work!
Easter weekend arrived and the weather looked fine, perfect chance for a spot of polytunnel building! In all it took four days to get the doors and frames on, the cover, the mypex flooring and replace the earth back into the trenches.
There were several debates about how best to go about certain tasks, some of which we could have done differently in hindsight, but it’s up and currently withstanding the unusual gusty southerly wind we’re experiencing today.
The whole weekend was glorious sunshine and very warm, which was perfect for ensuring the polythene went on nice and tight. We we’re booth completely pooped at the end of the weekend, but it’ll be worth the effort when we are enjoying the fruits of our labour.
I’ve been busy this weekend moving staging, pots and bits and bobs inside to get it all set up, and I can’t wait to get planting some more seeds.
I now need to concentrate on the outside of the patch and I’m planning to make a couple of beds now for potatoes and strawberries, but the rest I shall dig over and prepare in the autumn, ready for next year. I like the idea of letting it evolve slowly, so I shall just dig beds as I need them. I’ve also been reading about no dig gardening which I love the idea of, so I might cover a couple of areas with cardboard and mypex. If I leave them till the autumn or maybe next year, I should (apparently) have lovely beds ready for planting! I love the sound of that! I’ll give it a go and see what happens. I’ve also been reading about growing veg in bales of straw, so if I can get hold of a bale, I might give that a go. Watch this space!