The first question I'm going to answer to day is from Julie, via email, she asked 'by how long has the poly tunnel extended our growing season?' Well the answer is it makes gardening possible virtually all year round. We are still eating leeks and herbs from the polytunnel, even though I did have a problem with a mould outbreak due, I think, to not having enough ventilation, which has killed off some of my more tender plants (I'm SO sorry you lovely lemon and lime trees).
I can use the PT to start all my seedlings off this year, something I'm starting in the next couple of days, trays have been purchased as well as our last lot of bought in compost, we will have our own by next year. Last year I had trays of seedlings all over the house on every windowsill, making the place feel very productive but look very untidy!
This picture was taken before it actually had it's doors on!
The beauty of the polytunnel is that I can fling the doors open and let everything harden off in a more natural way to instead of having to take everything outside each morning and bring it in at night.
Another bonus to PT's is the speed at which everything grows. There is only a couple of weeks between these two pictures.
So to answer Julies question properly, it means I am actively growing and harvesting all year round So it gives me the full year to keep us in food. Last year was only half a season with the PT so this year will see me in action properly, learning from my mistakes (the mould and exessive overplanting) and hopefuly reaping lots of yummy rewards.
The next question, along similar lines was from a lovely lady called Mary who emails me regularly. She asked what we had grown in our first year, well it's a long list..........
Chives, parlsey and lots of other herbs.
Beans, peas, potatoes, onion and carrots.
Leeks (see novel growing method below...I knew it made sense to eat Pringles!!)
All salad crops, lettuce, mixed leaves, Pak Choi, spring onions radish (THE success of the year, whoppers like tennisballs that tasted divine!) the ones in the picture below are babies. Brocolli, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumber, green and red peppers. Red Hot chillis, courgettes, beetroot and my most wonderous of all a Melon (alright it only grew to the size of a ping pong ball...but it grew!) The tastiest of our fruits last year were the strawberries, and we also had cooking apples and damsons from the trees we inherited on the farm lots of them (apples that is - only one tree).
We also planted out all our new fruit trees and bushes, so hopefully we may have signs of some fruit this year. No doubt I have missed something of my list. One thing we forgot to grow were squashes and pumpkins, something I intend to rectify this year, we didn't realise until we saw pumpkins in the shops at halloween!!
I hope this has answered all your questions. If you would like to know anything else, please feel free to email me or leave comments anytime. I am NO expert just someone who isn't afraid to try things and learn from her mistakes. Lovely Hubby is more the sort to read up on what he wants to do, research every aspect of it and then give it a go. I just wade in with my fingers crossed, always hoping for the best.
Between us we seem to make it work and that's why the picture at the top of this post is of a chicken (Mother) watching television. To live this life the most important thing is not lots of money, lots of time or lots of knowhow......it's a sense of humour and a willingness to give it a go.