Why I Love My Polytunnel

It’s no surprise that polytunnel farming is becoming more popular. They are much less expensive to purchase than a greenhouse and are reasonably simple to erect. If you can squeeze one in, they truly do take your fruit and vegetable growing to the next level, expanding the variety of what you can produce successfully in the first place: grapes, melons, cucumbers, peppers, aubergines, and chillies are all possible. It also serves as a pleasant respite from the worst of the weather outside.

Now is a great time to buy you Polytunnel as we are offering exceptional value here at Inthemarket.ie. You’ll need to consider where you want to put your polytunnel: a sunny place on a level area with some wind protection is ideal. Planning approval is usually not necessary as long as it isn’t more than 3m tall, doesn’t take up more than 50% of your garden, and doesn’t present a problem for your neighbours. However, if in doubt, contact your local planning department first.

Here are a few examples of how you could benefit:

Salads that can be eaten all year

A polytunnel brings up a world of winter salad possibilities that you wouldn’t have access to otherwise. More delicate lettuces and leaves will last longer, while hardier kale, chard, mustards, cresses, chicories, spinach, parsley, and mizuna will keep you in fascinating leaves for months. Hardier salad plugs can still be planted today if you’re quick. Summer lettuces can also be pruned back to limit the risk of mildew and encourage slow winter growth.

There’s no need to be a seasonal gardener.

You can plant or just sit and relax in your polytunnel no matter how bad the weather is. After last winter’s dreadful weather, I’ve now added a deckchair and a small seating area to mine — it’s become a tiny haven. Simply cover your chosen area with a weed suppressant layer and gravel. This is the quickest (and one of the least expensive) methods.

Crops harvested earlier

The so-called spring hungry gap is less noticeable with a polytunnel, as numerous crops such as new potatoes, spring cabbage, peas, salad, and beans aren’t far away. There’s still time to germinate pea and broad bean seeds so you may overwinter your plants for a spring start.

The best for strawberries

Strawberries cultivated outside have never yielded well for me. Birds, snails, and insects pounce on the crop as soon as it approaches ripeness, devouring the majority of it before I can get to work. Inside, it’s a very different story, with a bumper crop every time. In good years, we may even obtain a second crop of strawberries later in the season from our plants. Now is an excellent time to establish runners by gently inserting new plants in pots with fresh multipurpose compost still attached to the parent plant.

A helpful hand for crops that are more difficult to grow

Without some sort of cover, I’d struggle to grow quality tomatoes, cucumbers, or peppers in my garden in West Wales. It also allows me to try out some more daring produce. The trick is to keep your polytunnel clean both inside and out to ensure that your plants get the most light possible, especially at this time of year.

Increasing adaptability

Even in an unheated polytunnel like mine, seeds can be planted much sooner than they would be otherwise. On the potting bench, I also keep a huge unheated propagator to help germination and protect seedlings from the cold (and the polytunnel mice). You can also seed a little later than usual because the growth season is extended on both sides, giving you more freedom all around. Cucumber, tomato, and melon plants can yield fruit far into November and even December, depending on how cold it gets outside, so it’s worth leaving them in the ground.

Crops harvested earlier

The so-called spring hungry gap is less noticeable with a polytunnel, as numerous crops such as new potatoes, spring cabbage, peas, salad, and beans aren’t far away. There’s still time to germinate pea and broad bean seeds so you may overwinter your plants for a spring start.

Container plants need to be protected over the winter.

Potted herbs like rosemary, parsley, sage, and thyme will benefit from being brought indoors, giving you extra opportunity for winter harvesting in exchange for their protection. Plants that are more susceptible to the elements can also benefit from a protective barrier. Simply bring them inside and remember to hydrate them.

Investing in seeds

A polytunnel will greatly assist you in extending your seed saving efforts. It helps you to overwinter more delicate biennials like carrots, parsley, beetroot, and swede safely, allowing them to blossom and set seed the following year. Take a few tomatoes, peas, french beans, cucumbers, and other vegetables and bury them in the ground now so they can spring into action the following year when they’re ready. This is the epitome of lazy gardening.

Polytunnels & Accessories Available at InTheMarket.ie

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