Before we started planting I marked out each section with string as per the planting plan (see blog with pic here) and then labeled each section of the polytunnel with a sign hanging from the support battens so we can easily see at eye level where everything is.
We then planted out all our seedlings into holes filled with compost, evenly spaced using a piece of string cut to the right measurement for each plant. i.e Chilli Peppers 30cm from the next plant, Tomatoes 60cm apart and so on.
Once everything was in we watered the whole tunnel thoroughly and sowed rows of seeds for baby leaf salads, Swiss Chard and Romanesco Cauliflowers.
One week on and all our seedlings were thriving, plus we had leaves of all varieties sprouting up enthusiastically. Below are some piccies of our polytunnel crops approx. two weeks after planting.
Since planting everything out we’ve only had one slug incident, during which we unfortunately lost half the Purple Sprouting Broccoli overnight. Luckily we had extra seedlings still waiting to be planted out so they were quickly replaced and reinforced with extra eggshells. As I dug the soil up to do so I actually found the little blighter, much to the delight of our chickens!
We have had some frosts this week, both air and ground, so we have been being careful to only water in the mornings. This is so the plants don’t have any excess moisture on them overnight that could freeze and harm their delicate leaves.
Thankfully most of the plants in the polytunnel are fairly hardy, having lived for almost a month in our unheated greenhouse, so we weren’t too worried about them. However we had grown a few too many courgette plants as we underestimated how many would germinate and survive. Not wanting to throw away such healthy plants, already budding with new leaves and flowers, we planted them outside and crossed our fingers for good weather.
When the forecast came in for frost we made a bit of emergency protection using a long cut off from the side of our poly, placed over metal hoops along the row of courgettes. Having survived the frosts they are doing well in their mini polytunnel but the size is limiting their growth. Hopefully the weather will clear soon so they can grow freely in the sunshine!
Come May and the end of the frosts we hope to get a bit more planted outside so check back with us soon to see what’s growing outside, and how big our indoor crops are getting.
Pippa and Theo