January: the frozen heart of winter. The darkest and least attractive month of the entire gardening year, unless you happen to have a Polytunnel…
Benefits of a Polytunnel
So, what difference can a Polytunnel make in January? First and foremost, it will allow you to keep lots of crops growing right through the winter and into spring. And, on those cold, crisp days when the sun does show itself, the temperature in a Polytunnel will be wonderfully warm. However, don’t make the mistake of thinking that your Polytunnel will be frost free! Cold is a problem in mid winter even in a Polytunnel, but fortunately there are ways you can prevent it from damaging your precious crops.
There are several heaters available from First Tunnels and these will keep the temperature above freezing even in the coldest weather. For passive heating, a water butt is a great thing to have in a Polytunnel – and the bigger, the better. Not only will it be handy for watering but it will also retain the heat. The water will soak up the warmth any time the sun comes out, then slowly release.
If you’ve got particularly tender or vulnerable crops or seedlings underway in your Polytunnel, they may need a little extra pampering to protect them in sub-zero conditions. So here’s a little tip. First cover them with a cloche hoop, then cover the cloche in a horticultural fleece, Bubble insulation or Polythene – Like double glazing….It’s as simple as that! It’s quick and easy and works hand-in-hand with all your other heating and insulation methods. And it could make all the difference when it really matters.
You’ll find further instructions and photos in the book “How to Grow Food in Your Polytunnel all Year Round”
Dreaming about spring in the Polytunnel!
Originally posted 2012-12-29 10:00:40.