After a lot of searching online for the perfect poly, we eventually decided the best way to get exactly what we wanted was to build it ourselves. As a bonus we managed to use lots of repurposed materials in the process. You can check out our blog entry about the construction here. It has some great pictures and some handy tips for anyone trying it themselves.
The poly-tunnel allows us to improve the growing environment of our crops– the temperature, humidity and pest levels can all, to some degree, be controlled. It also gave us the chance to create good beds, with earth containing lots of nutrients suited to our vegetables before we started planting them. Check out our blog entry about the soil here.
Not only does our poly-tunnel create a climate that allows us to grow more exotic items (we’d have very chilly chillies if we grew them outside!), it also helps us extend our growing season, letting us sow early and harvest longer.
If you’re as die hard as us but with no access to an insulated greenhouse or cosy warm poly-tunnel, you can always start your seedlings on the kitchen table or windowsills as we did when we first started – Just make sure you have a watertight tray under all those seedling pots!
Once they’re planted out in your garden you can use cloches (little plastic or glass hats) or mini poly-tunnels over a small bed (a few lengths of waterpipe or bendy willow branches pushed into the earth and draped in plastic will do the trick) to prolong your season by keeping the plants warm. Just be sure to water them often as they wont be benefitting from the usual British summer rain.