Thursday, 9 April 2015

Polytunnel Progress


April 6th

I've decided I will attempt to chart the polytunnels progress through out the year by taking a photo a week hopefully always on a Monday,  so I (and you) can see just how things change on a week by week basis.


At the moment in the tunnel there are potatoes chitting, we only bought these last week, late I know, but another week or so and they will be out on the hillside fending for themselves in one of the raised beds.


Behind the potatoes on my potting bench are lots of seeds in their toilet roll tubes, nestled in seed trays and under the protective cover of propagator lids.  The lids are important because although we have reached the dizzying heights of 38 degrees on sunny afternoons, at night the temperature plummets to 10, which sounds low until you realise that outside the tunnel the temperature has been zero or just one degree.

Each day I open the slots in the lids to allow the condensation to disperse a little and close them up again at night.  It seems to be working and there are lots of little encouraging green shoots and leaves.


I am being very good at keeping notes, it's vitally important that I chart this first year of growing on our Welsh hillside both inside the tunnel and outside.  The temperature fluctuations and weather conditions are so different to when I last had a polytunnel and outdoor beds in Oxfordshire.


I write down the date, what I planted, how many to a pot or tray and then I go back and add the number of days it takes the seeds to show signs of life.  I am having a very good success rate at the moment, especially when you consider that I am using up the seeds that are the most out of date first.


Out on the hillside, basking in the gloriously warm afternoon sun each day, the Garlic is the star crop.  It's just starting to show more signs of growth as the warmth of the sun combined with  the moisture trapped deep in the soil from the last few weeks of rain helps this lovely crop spring back into life.

I accidentally 'weeded' one out the other day and although there is not much sign of bulb growth activity yet the plants are healthy and strong.  I'm just hoping the abundance of rabbits currently on the hillside and in the woods don't take a liking to garlic!!

Rosy is doing her best, but this weeks tally of three rabbits will not keep the population down.


Dad's Bed is looking a little more colourful now, when Mum came to see us on her birthday weekend she added new spring flowering plants to it, and the ones that have overwintered are also starting to show signs of life.  

The birds come to drink at Mum and Dad's original bird bath and their birdsong fills the air in gratitude.  It's nice to have Dad nearby as I garden and plan.  He's in the polytunnel too, I keep finding plant labels in his neat handwriting and some of the seeds I've planted were chosen and bought by him and Mum.  


Already planted out on the hillside in one of the beds are these first earlies potatoes 'Swift'.  I've never grown this variety before but they were on sale in the Pound Shop for ..... £1, so I had to give it a go. 


 I bought two packets, they were looking so sorry for themselves in their plastic wrapping but the shoots were long and green, so I took pity on them and gave them a much needed bed in the rich soil of our hillside.

Does anyone else feel sorry for dry plants, neglected plants, or plants that just look as though they would sink into rich earth with a drink of fresh water and go .... mmmmmm  at the shops and garden centres  ..... or is that just soft old me?

I don't really mind ....  being soft sometimes gets me the most incredible bargains :-)

Sue xx

21 comments:

  1. I get so angry with stores who put out plants dying of thirst, day after day. Such a waste!

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  2. In Ipswich the other day The Poundland shop had 2 giant trolleys full of dead pansys - what a waste.
    We have grown Swift and also Rocket in the poly-tunnels as an early early and they are OK not as tasty as Charlotte later but good to have very early

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  3. Our garlic is doing great outside too, we have 4 of the 8 raised beds planted up now and in a few weeks I will be planting in the poly tunnel,, like you this year is a learning curve first year of growing in Wales, some of my most treasured garden plants are from the reduced section, I always check that section out first in the garden center.

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  4. It's all looking very good Sue. I hate it when shops do that too, however like you say it is good for us as it means we get a bargain. I have done the same with cut flowers before now. If ever I'm going to buy flowers from the supermarket I always look to the reduced section first, it's surprising what you can find in there x x x

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  5. Sue, this all looks so wonderful. I would love to have a polytunnel!

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  6. I was doing some blog hopping this morning and ran across you site. It's awesome and I'm now a new follower. I love growing anything or well trying to anyways! lol.
    -Lisa

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    1. Welcome to the Blog and thanks for 'following'. I think trying to grow things is what all gardeners do, it's always a challenge, ... that's why we love it so much.

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  7. It's looking good, what a fabulous way to grow things. Especially in this necks of the woods! x

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  8. Progress indeed!
    Yes, I walk around such places and feel sorry for the wilting plants but, I always ask if they are being reduced in price........cheeky but, if you don't ask you don't get and the poor specimens may end up in the bin, not a compost one either! I did such a thing last year and got 4 chives plants in 4 pots for 25p! They have survived the Winter and the chickens scratching about and have come up very healthy looking, in fact, I might cut some to have with my salad tonight!
    Keep up the good work Sue, I'm sure it will pay off, especially when you start planning next years' crops etc. xxx

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  9. 6 or 7 years ago in September I purchased an Acer from Wilko's for 99p, it looked dead, but I planted it up and have had glorious foliage each year, I thought it was not dead. I do like the change of bringing things back to a healthy plant.

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  10. You've worked really hard on that, just so organised.

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  11. Oh my goodness, you are just way too organized! My hubby would be thrilled to see how you have everything plotted out...Mr. engineer.

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    1. Well it was my engineer that built it all for me, he loves straight lines and everything in it's place. I doubt it will be THIS tidy in a few months ;-)

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  12. Great idea to write things down. At least you have a record of what has worked and what hasn't and even a possible reason as to why? It's my first year growing veg so blogs like yours is helping.

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  13. I just love your polytunnel. It's the one thing I regret not being 'allowed' to build in my old place. I will be following your progress with great interest. And yes, another one here who buys wilting plants! Just bought a reduced to 50p mint plant.

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  14. Oh everything is looking so good already! I am going to have to step up my game lol
    X

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  15. I admire you for being so organised. I`m way behind with my gardening. Haven`t even prepared any soil yet and have seen signs of seeds sprouting on my bedroom window sill today. I hope to catch up in the next few weeks. Would certainly love to grow tomatoes, cucumbers, courgettes and some lettuce to make salads during the summer. I so envy you for that pollytunnel.

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  16. Great blog, we planted our first lot of potatoes today, shallots and lots more seed in the greenhouse, making the most of the glorious weather we have been having. I might be getting a poly tunnel soon, exciting times :)

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  17. it's all coming along nicely, you must be pleased with the progress you have made?

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  18. Oh Sue I so agree about feeling sad for neglected plants . On the weekend I bought 3 punnets of capsicum and chillie plants that were in a very sad state . Several hours later they were planted and are now looking happy. I can't look at some of the plants at supermarkets - it's plant abuse !!!!!

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  19. Yes, it is fun to sometimes rescue a plant in need. I grow potatoes too, in the garden and also in a five gallon pail.

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