Monday, 13 July 2015

The Polytunnel in July


The polytunnel in July is a rapidly filling up space, the top photo is next to my 'working area', the bit of the bench that holds all the trays, pots and other bits and pieces I use on a day to day basis.  String has been much in use this weekend with the tomato and 'Tomtato' plants growing so quickly they needed some additional tying in.


The usual view of the tunnel that I take month by month to help me with comparisons.  I've done a lot of work since this photo was taken on Friday morning.


This is the view from the other end, it was so hot on Friday that I needed all the doors flung open wide to allow some airflow.


The carrots are coming on a treat and soon there will be thinnings to eat as baby carrots to allow the others more space to grow.


There are the first red tomatoes appearing on the branches of the main crop of tomatoes now, I doubt they will last long ..... it was all I could do not to pick them off and eat them straight away while I was working but I thought I would hold on a few more days to let them get to that luscious dark red stage when the juices are sweet and the flesh deliciously soft.

Oooh .... now I'm making myself want to dash over and get them immediately :-)


There is lots of colour in the tunnel now too, it makes me smile when I step through the door, it's not just there to be pretty though.  The gorgeous orangey red Nasturtiums are completely edible, with both the tender young leaves and the brilliantly hued flowers giving a wonderfully peppery kick to any salad I sprinkle them on.

The French Marigolds are there to attract beneficial insects to eat the not so welcome ones, as well as giving the whole polytunnel a rich flowery aroma and that magical burst of colour.


This is the squash bed, there are a couple of Courgette plants near the door, with a lone Cabbage that somehow appeared, who am I to say it can't live there if it wants too!!  The lush mass of foliage is the Butternut Squash plants, five of them grown much too close together but looking so lush and lovely I just can't bring myself to dig any of them up and send them out to the hillside to a possible rabbity end.


With the beds filling up so quickly I took the decision yesterday to dig up most of the huge French Marigolds, I was doubting the variety I had grown with them being so big, but looking at the labels as I potted them up I was right I had planted 'Dwarf' French Marigolds, there is nothing dwarf about any of the plants!!


The pots are now dotted around in various places taking up less space thanks to the pots lifting them higher, and they will also take up less water from the beds the vegetables are growing in.


Standing them in saucers and tubs means I can monitor how much they get to drink and how much more I need to water the veggies around them.

This is the time of year I love, all that you have planted is coming to fruition (apart from the missing crops the rabbits decided to eat of course), everything is green and lush and we've not yet reached that tired and overblown look that signals the start of the too much to handle season.

Now it's time to spring into action and start preserving the things I am growing.  Blanching, blocking and freezing the spinach.  Snipping and freezing herbs into icecube trays and making pestos with some of them.  As soon as there are workable amounts of tomatoes I will be making sauces and passatas, anything to keep us stocked with homegrown food for as long as I can.

It's still the year of experimentation since our move and with it being the first year we have grown properly here, and where we've failed on some counts we've been pleasantly surprised on others.  Who knew that rabbits would eat all the onion tops and leave the sweet luscious baby courgettes for us to feast on for instance!!

Sue xx

15 comments:

  1. Wonderful, I can smell, visualise and taste. Ain't Nature wonderful.
    xx

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  2. Sue, I'm so impressed with your polytunnel. You have done a fabulous job with your plantings.

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  3. That all looks amazing. I can also smell the green lusciousness of it all!

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  4. Wonderfully vibrant & healthy looking x

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  5. It's looking good Sue, I have the same journal x

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    1. It's very messy inside but I keep notes on everything I pant and when it needs potting on. Unfortunately it's nearly full now, I'll be needing a new one which is no bad thing ..... I LOVE buying stationery :-)

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  6. Nature at its best. I agree about the tomatoes. Leave them alone and the tsar is simply wonderful.

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  7. How do you keep it so tidy?! My greenhouse doesn't feel like mine unless I'm stood over an empty bag of compost and some pots whilst trying to tell my youngest not to pull up the sweetcorn!

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    1. I am being pretty strict with myself.

      Planting in rows, keeping things looking good as well as making the best possible use of the space I have and perhaps the most important thing after each potting or tending session having five minutes to sweep down the workbench. Whenever I water I finish by hosing down the paving slabs to add moisture to the air and also keep the floor as clean as possible.

      Paving slabs and defined beds are what I learned I needed after using my last polytunnel when we first started this lifestyle. I do find I work better in a tidy area too and once somewhere gets messy I lose impetus to get back to being tidy, so as I said I am being strict :-)

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  8. Now that is a great looking poly tunnel and so neat . Here in Australia it's winter and a bit cold with a cold mass from Antarctica covering 2 thirds of the country. My nasturtiums in my garden are all self down and are a lively bright plant still going strong in the cold x

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  9. Wow...it all looks wonderful! I have a question: Do you use your Nutribullet in place of a regular blender? My blender chops, purees and mixes, so I'm wondering if I should even consider a Nutribullet?

    Thanks!

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    1. I have been getting SO many questions about the Nutribullet I have decided to do a post all about it ..... see the next post :-)

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  10. I definitely have polytunnel envy! Beautiful xxx

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  11. Wow! It is beautiful - I could while away many a happy hour in there! You've put in such a lot of work and it is so tidy - I absolutely love it - well done and enjoy the fruits of your labour!

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  12. Hi Sue, I love your polytunnel and how you have used the space and the boxed beds. It all looks wonderful. I have just got my first vegetable patch a bit late in the year but I am enjoying planting and seeing what comes alive. enjoy those tomatoes when they appear :-) dee x

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