November can bring rain, strong winds, bitterly cold weather, frost and the first snowfall is even possible. A Polytunnel offers protection from the elements and on those bright days, it can get rather warm inside your bubble of Polythene.
Gardening Jobs for November
November is one of those months when you can take the steam out of things and pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Providing, of course, you’ve already tidied, cleaned, repaired and got rid of all the old plants. If you haven’t, you know what you need to! If you have, your workload will be enjoyably light..
Keep Crops Warm
Keeping the polytunnel warm in winter is one of the main challenges of the season. Fortunately, many plants will do just fine without any additional heating, as long as you give them a little extra protection from the worst of the winter weather. Before you decide to heat the whole structure, think about taking one of the following measures to protect your plants:
- Use mini polytunnels, cloches, bubble wrap or horticultural fleece to form an extra barrier against the cold.
- Use organic mulches such as straw or bracken to protect plant roots from frost.
- Add thermal mass to gently warm the structure during the night.
- Consider creating a hot bed with composting materials to grow more tender plants.
If you do decide to heat the structure, consider heating only a portion of it, creating partitions to make the space you need to heat smaller. Consider choosing sustainable, eco-friendly heating options such as an electric heater run off renewable energy sources, or a solid fuel rocket mass stove.
What to Plant
November is a great time to plant grapevines inside your polytunnel. Remember to feed your soil and water sparingly.
In November, you can sow:
- Broad beans
- Anything else sown in September and October.
Make sure the water-butt inside your polytunnel is full. When the sun’s rays keep it warm it takes longer to cool than air. This effectively acts like an energy-free storage heater.
If you’re using a heater overnight, this can cause condensation. So don’t forget to ventilate your Poly tunnel during the warmer parts of the day.
2. Remember, anything sown in November will grow relatively slowly and probably won’t drop until late spring (but still much earlier than plants grown outdoors)
3. Place your pots of peas and beans inside a large, clear plastic storage box, inside your Polytunnel. This helps keep slugs and mice at bay and offers some additional protection from draughts
4. Clear away the last of all your warm weather crops, things like tomatoes and peppers. Pick any remaining fruits and take them into the house to ripen.
Crops you can sow in a Polytunnel in November – Broad beans, Carrots, Cabbage, Early Garlic, Winter lettuce.
For lots more Polytunnel gardening hints and tips, please visit First Tunnels growing guides or request a brochure
Sean Barker is the MD of First Tunnels, and is enthusiastic about providing quality gardening supplies to gardeners across the UK