Saturday, 2 November 2013

Polytunnel November 2013

Posted by Rosie

There is a sentence in my favourite polytunnel book - The Polytunnel Book by Joyce Russell - that states something along the lines of the fact that anyone can fill their polytunnel and grow large amounts of tomatoes but a good polytunnel gardener will have harvestable plants all year round. This year I did indeed grown a magnificent amount of tomatoes but I am also working hard at keeping my polytunnel working all year round.  To this end, on today, November 2nd 2013 this what our polytunnel contains:

Still harvesting the last of the:

Full polytunnel bed - Nov 2013
Also harvesting:
Cavolo Nero
Lamb's Lettuce
Spring Cabbage (a warm Autumn has made this grow very early!)

Ready to harvest soon:

To be harvested in the spring:
Purple Sprouting Broccoli

About to go in for Spring harvest:
Broad Beans
Garlic - the garlic has come from my lovely friends Barrie and Andrea in Ilminster.  They had never succeeded with outdoor garlic (like me) but some-one gave them some garlic from Toulouse and suggested they grew it in the polytunnel.  When I was there last week they gave me a couple of their bulbs to try so now the garlic is heading back to France for me to find out if I can succeed getting a bulb larger than a walnut!

Joyce Russell also suggests planting mangetout and early carrots in November. I have never done very well with late sowings of carrots but bearing in mind I have open seeds that will need chucking anyway I may give carrots a go again.  Late mangetout will be a first for me so I'll have to see how it does ... and to be honest if it fails to do much it will at least have enriched the soil with some nitrogen in the process.

French Green Manure
Something that Joyce's book does not mention is green manures.  I have sown almost all my cleared outdoor areas outside with green manures and having seeds still left over I am toying with the idea of doing the same in any gaps in the polytunnel.  I have sown a French green manure which I think is on sale in the UK as the vegetable Broccoli Raab.  The box says it can be sown to the end of October so I see no reason why not to give it a go in the polytunnel now.  Like the garlic, carrots and mangetout I see it as a case of nothing ventured, nothing gained.

So, Joyce, if by some rare chance you are reading this blog I can confirm that your comment about all year harvesting has definitely inspired me to fill my beds with veg to keep me going well beyond the tomatoes of high summer and early autumn.  Thank you :)  Maybe I can inspire some of our blog readers to do the same. 


  1. We don't use a poly tunnel but admire your crops. I can see how useful they can be.

  2. Thanks Ian - I can't grow tomatoes outside here as they succumb to blight and other crops struggle outside in Winter so for me it's invaluable ... and each year I have it, I seem to make better use of it in all seasons. Maybe next year I'll see about growing a lemon tree in there.

  3. Oh and I forgot to say, Ian that the Calabrese and PSB is the seeds you sent me. I decided it was a big late outside but I'd give them a go inside. They're looking good so far :)

  4. I use our polytunnel for K
    ale, PSB and winter salad leaves as well as chicken house and guinea pig shelter :)

  5. This is the foist time I am trying PSB in the polytunnel, Compostwoman and it's looking good. Do you let the chicken free range in the tunnel? Even if I had no crops for them to eat I'd worry that they would peck the plastic. I have already got a load of claw marks from cats who thought it was fun to climb up and sit on top of the tunnel!

  6. I keep the chickens at the door wnd, and fence off the PSB and Kales or they would strip the leaves in a flash!

    Ditto the claw marks ( loads of tiny holes) rom our cats - they made a right old mess of it!

    Chickens don't seem to damage the plastic when they peck it though :)

  7. Oh dear, not just my cats ... although sneaking up under them and bashing the polytunnel with a soft broom did seem to frighten them into not doing it again. You should have seen their faces when they stopped running and turned to look back at the polytunnel from the safety of one of the pig pens!


I love receiving comments and I do read every one but if you are simply here to spam me with a link, guess what ... I won't publish it.