Whilst winter was the time for cleaning out the greenhouse and pouring over seed catalogues to find the tastiest crops, the welcome arrival of spring has seen us step up a gear. Not only did we get our livestock enclosure up and filled with chickens, we started getting ready for the poly-tunnel to go up.
We found the perfect patch of land, with close proximity to a good water supply and some excellent hours of sunshine. Time to get to work!
Unfortunately the weather had other ideas and while we were waiting for the soil to dry out enough to plough our field, we got stuck in else where.
We spent a few days finding and cutting up unwanted gates for our ‘scaffold pole’ foundations. I would recommend a few spare discs for the angle grinder to anyone embarking on cutting up scaffold!
Then came the delivery of a MASSIVE 50m coil of 63mm water pipe, which we cut into 8.2m lengths to make the hoops of our poly-tunnel.
We also had the timber for the ends and roof battens delivered, and scavenged some old doors.
And the ground was still too wet!
So, while Theo started propagating seeds, I went back to the drawing board and began planning out the crop spacing so we could squeeze as much as possible into our plot.
Our poly-tunnel crops need careful positioning to maximize airflow through the tunnel and allow for vertical supports and crop bars. Outdoor crops need well thought out planning too – From netting over areas for the caterpillar prone cauliflower and cabbage, to positioning beans so they do not block sunshine from other crops.
We also want to experiment with companion planting, an old school method of pest deterrence. i.e Onions and Leeks deter Carrot fly so the two crops should be planted near each other to minimize the problem.
There’s years of knowledge and experience to be found in my stack of library books and while I think some of these ideas could be old wives tales, I’ll take all the help we can get!
Read our next blog post to see all that Theo is doing with the seedlings and to see our finished plans.
Pippa and Theo