Wednesday, 30 March 2011

The Polytunnel in March

Posted by Rosie

In previous years I have concentrated on summer crops that benefit from the heat of the polytunnel - tomatoes, aubergines, cucumbers etc. but I have not really taken the full advantage that a polytunnel gives to extending the seasons and protecting plants overwinter.  Now, having purchased The Polytunnel Book I am trying to make much better use of the polytunnel all year round.  With that in mind, I have lots growing in there at the moment and I'm wondering where on earth I am going to put all the tomatoes etc!!

All the following have germinated in the beds and are growing on nicely thanks to the warm sunshine we have had over the last couple of weeks - lots of oriental vegetables, chard, cabbages, rocket, radishes, chicory, turnips, beetroot and carrots.  I am managing to keep sowing lettuces in succession and the first ones are nearly ready to harvest.  I'm harvesting spinach and chard but the last of the beetroot went to the pigs last week.

Overwintering onions/shallots, potatoes, peas, mangetout and broad beans are all growing rapidly - I have been hand pollinating broad bean flowers with a soft paint brush to encourage seed setting.  The peas and mangetout are growing up dogwood twigs but I have an awful feeling that the said twigs have rooted!!  I also have flowers on the strawberry plants so more hand pollinating there.

And this month I have been busy sowing seeds for later transplanting - tomatoes (6 varieties), peppers (3 varieties), sunflowers, nasturtiums, marigolds, basil, spring onions, beetroot and courgettes.  Most have germinated and I'll be busy potting them on over the next week or so.

Plants I overwintered under cover are now hardening off outside and will be planted out as soon as the risk of frost has passed.  If only I knew exactly when that date was, gardening would be so much easier!


  1. Good luck with the polytunnel crops - sounds like you're making very good use of the space - hope it all thrives. 'The Polytunnel Book' has just got a 'Page' on FaceBook - some good write-ups and a bit more about Joyce. The organic approach is very important to her.

  2. Thank you Ben - this is my third polytunnel book and by far the best. I'll put a review up on Amazon later.

  3. I have been madly sowing salad for the last few weeks, but still waiting to be eating any.

    Later this month I'm putting up my plastic bottle greenhouse and hopefully will have salad all year round from it

  4. We ate our first VERY small lettuce on Friday. It was delicious. Good luck with your plastic bottle greenhouse.

  5. i've just put up my own polytunnel. it was meant to be up in october so i could try some winter stuff but there was a bit of a delay. you can read all about that in my blog! i'm just about to start my seedlings now. so excited!!! thanks for mentioning this book- i had no idea people had written books about them!

  6. Welcome to the blog Sparkling and good luck with your polytunnel.


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