November is here already – what can we expect from the weather this month? Frosts are no longer a surprise, darkening days, trees shedding their remaining leaves, rain and maybe snow!!…..But it’s not all doom and gloom – don’t give up on Polytunnel gardening just because it’s turning chilly. Any sunshine on a cold winter’s day transforms your bubble of polythene into summer all over again…….Yeah!!! 🙂
The Polytunnel undergoes a lot of change in November, as its colours begin to fade and it becomes a little less productive than it was in late summer. There’s plenty to get on with to prepare for next year, and there’s still produce to savour and enjoy.
Be on guard to protect tender plants with horticultural fleece or bubble wrap. Even the best insulated Polytunnels will get a little chilly inside and keeping the entire space warm can require a lot of time and effort….especially if only a few crops need special attention. A mini Polytunnel is the ideal solution for some tactical, localised protection. With the additional of tea lights or a small heater, it’s really easy to create your own mini micro climate
To avoid a build-up of pests and diseases in the ground, clear away any old vegetable plants that have finished cropping and add them to your compost heap. Clear out the Polytunnel wash pots and trays, clean, mend and oil your tools and throw away anything that is beyond hope or reasonable repair! Cleaning your Polytunnel thoroughly will prevent unwelcome pests from hibernating, (especially in dark and dusty corners) and leaping into action next spring. Wash the polythene cover inside and out with Algon Organic to allow maximum light in over the winter and scrub any staging or benches. Ventilate on sunny days to prevent mould from building up.
As the ground and raised beds become unoccupied, carry on with the winter digging and spread manure, compost or leaf matter to replace the goodness in it. You can always leave the soil pretty roughly dug and clumpy……the worms should break these up. Digging over introduces air into the soil avoiding it turning solid…and if it’s raining, there’s no better place to hide and get on with some digging.
Now is the time to plant out your garlic, sow bread beans (Sowing now will give you an early crop next year) and harvest Winter Cabbages, Cauliflower, Kale and Brussel sprouts when needed. Early maturing Brussel Sprouts will be ready after the first frosts. Pick them from the bottom of the stem.
Growing the same type of crops on the same ground each year can cause a build-up of pests and diseases affecting that type of crop so start planning next year’s vegetable crop to allow for a good rotation of crops. Crops can be grouped as follows:
Roots, brassicas, legumes (peas, beans) and everything else (potatoes, onions, tomatoes). Move your crops around each year so that the same group of crops isn’t in the same area for more than one season.
Until next month, happy Polytunnel gardening!
Originally posted 2016-11-16 09:00:27.