My dream of a growing in a polytunnel has been a dream for quite some YEARS!! Yep, we are not talking months here!
So to say I am somewhat of an expert on what would be the best tunnel for me is an understatement.
So when I am ultimately able to afford one, I am sooo excited, I can hardly sleep.
I have chosen the make called Haygrove Polytunnel. It was then time for construction!
The tunnel arrive in lots of heavy boxes. I had chosen where it was going and had done basic preparation.
The instruction book was detailed and long, with lots of pictures!… I decided that, as it is late in the season, September, and as such not enough time to grow many things before winter get the better of me, I would take my time building it.
So I, and my happy helpers put up the frame in a day with tea coffee and biscuits. I then spent some time installing the raised beds and filling them. I though this way would be easier than walking on the new soil whilst putting up the frame and it was. It also allowed me to use hammer, nails, forks and spades without the worry of damaging the polytunnel cover.
I built beds on either side of a central path, I made the path wide enough to easily walk along and but a big trug down in. I used a mixture of grit and rotted manure for the beds and wood chip for the path.
The main reason I decided on a Haygrove tunnel was the fact that the sides are all but straight, which means that you can grow tall plants along the tunnel’s sides as well as in the middle and as such I worked out for what I wanted to grow it would add lots more space.
The tunnel is in what will ultimately be my “orchard”, which is a grand word for the end of the garden with a few fruit trees and fruit bushes in. Currently I keep some chickens in the area, so they help with the construction.
Once the beds have been built I gather friends to fit the plastic. Another great feature of the Haygrove is that the sides come in separate sheets. Therefore it takes less effort to pull over the sheets and make them taught, it also makes me feel more comfortable, that, should any of the sheets rip, I will only have to replace one section.. But hopefully, all will be safe.
So I have the tunnel finished!!! It was too late in the season for tomatoes, but I had some lettuce seedlings and some spinach seedlings. I planted some beetroot, and brought in pots of herbs from the garden so as to lengthen their season… and to fill up my polytunnel.
BUT now we are in March and I am desperate to start the new season growing everything possible in the tunnel, I just have to be patient, even in a polytunnel, here in wet and windy Cumbria, it is too cold for seeds to germinate!
But a couple of weeks and it will be all systems go!
I will keep you posted!!