It’s that quiet time of year when you can use the daylight hours to catch up with essential maintenance and preparations for the new season to come, so check your Poly tunnel thoroughly for any signs of damage. Polytunnels are tough but things like minor tears can quickly deteriorate in the winter winds, make sure you have some polythene repair tape handy.
If it snows, remove any that lingers on your Polytunnel with a soft long handled sweeping brush. It will help keep unnecessary weight down and let more light in.
Anything that’s growing will still need watering….but do it sparingly while temperatures are low and moisture evaporates less. This will also a good time to feed your beds with manure, which will help warm the soil.
Outside, check to see if any hedges or trees need pruning to make sure your polytunnel gets optimum natural sunlight and it’s a great time to clean your Polytunnels polythene cover. Even if you think it doesn’t need cleaning, you’ll be amazed at the results. Algon Organic is perfect for the job and it’s also a good idea to clean tools and surfaces too.
1. Use grow bags where you can. They save space and are easy to move into the outdoor sun later in the year.
2. A fleece-covered cloche or mini Poly tunnel is a great way to create small areas of high temperature in your Poly tunnels. It works like double glazing and is ideal protection for tender crops.
3. On sunny days, pull the fleece to one side to let more light get through. Your plants will really appreciate it.
4. A large water butt inside the Polytunnel will absorb heat during the day and release it slowly at night.
SOWING & GROWING
Aubergines, Broad Beans, Carrots, Garlic, Mangetout, Potatoes, Rocket & Strawberries…..YES, Strawberries! After the first frost of the year, bring your outdoor strawberry plants into the Poly-tunnel. Surprisingly, strawberry crops are actually increased by this slight exposure to frost.
Beetroot, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Lettuce, Spinach, Turnips, Spring Cabbage, Kale, Cauliflower.
For more sowing growing and harvesting tips download First Tunnels FREE 12 month growing guide & Top of the Crops.
Sean Barker is the MD of First Tunnels, and is enthusiastic about providing quality gardening supplies to gardeners across the UK