As we approach the end of the year, let’s take a look at how a polytunnel can help us to buy less and live better. Life should be a constant process of self-improvement and a polytunnel can help us to improve the way we live our lives. In the run up to Christmas, we can all get wrapped up in a consumerist lifestyle and be compelled to buy, buy buy. But living more sustainably and ethically involves thinking more deeply about each and every purchase, and considering the ways in which we can buy less and live better. Here are some general tips to help all polytunnel gardeners move towards a more sustainable, eco-friendly and ethical way of life:
Plan For Year Round Growing & Eating
A polytunnel’s main benefit is that it can make it easier for individuals to grow and eat their own food not just over the summer months but all year round. In order to make sure that we can grow and eat our own food all year round, polytunnel gardeners should make sure they:
- Take care of the soil in the polytunnel and make sure it can feed plants throughout the year.
- Plan for companion planting and crop rotation.
- Make the most of the space in the polytunnel.
Taking care of these basics can help to reduce the amount of food we have to buy, reducing our bills and our carbon footprints and making sure that we can eat healthily throughout the year.
Make the Most of All the Things You Grow
Learning how to process, cook and preserve all of the food that we grow can also help to reduce the amount of food we have to buy and buy less. It can help us to make the most of all of the food that we produce in our polytunnels. Cooking fresh produce from scratch and preserving food can help us to avoid buying pre-packaged food from the shops.
Reduce Waste In Every Way Possible
Preserving food can help us to reduce food waste, while composting and mulching techniques can help us to use the parts of plants we do not eat to grow more food. In addition to making sure that we do not create food waste, we can also reduce household waste in our polytunnel growing efforts by:
- Using weeds and other biomass to take care of the soil and plants in our polytunnels.
- Using packaging and other household waste as containers, cloches and other items to help us grow our food.
- Reclaiming old items for use in and around the polytunnel. (As path edging, containers, supports, row covers etc…)
Make Full Use of All Natural Resources
In addition to using a polytunnel to grow food, we can also use it to grow other items which can be used to make natural products and to reduce the number of new products and items that we need to buy. For example, we can use natural resources such as wood, fibres, herbs and flowers to create cleaners for our homes, household items, décor, clothing, beauty products, gifts, and more…
A polytunnel can help us to buy less and live better in many different ways. Learn more in our articles and guides, and let us know how you are getting on in the comments below.
Elizabeth Waddington is a writer and green living consultant living in Scotland. Permaculture and sustainability are at the heart of everything she does, from designing gardens and farms around the world, to inspiring and facilitating positive change for small companies and individuals.
She also works on her own property, where she grows fruit and vegetables, keeps chickens and is working on the eco-renovation of an old stone barn.