Monday, 17 March 2014

Our New Polytunnel Is Constructed In Less Than A Day.

 We achieved a lot on the vegetable plot this weekend.  The new polytunnel frame was constructed on the area we dug over with the Smalley mechanical digger last week.  I dug out the trenches with my trusty Azada and long handled shovel and number one son constructed the frame.
 A farm neighbour from down the road turned up early on Saturday morning and taped the metal tubing to stop the plastic rubbing against the tubing.  He had experience building his own poly tunnel.  So there was 5 of us involved in offering the plastic, pulling the plastic and shoveling the soil over the plastic to make it tight and solid.
 Here's a picture of the soil covered plastic in the half full trenches.
 Yesterday we planted 6 rows of early potatoes.  Again I used my Azada to open up the trenches.  Then I forked a barrow of well rotted fym into the trench with my four prong pike.  The missus placed in her Aldi bought seed potatoes which we chitted for a few weeks in our front room.  Then we covered up the potatoes and placed sticks at both ends to know where we had planted our little spudatoes.  Solanum Tuberosum if you're posh.
 Here's the finished tunnel in all it's glory.  My Azada is in the front of the photograph.  It's called the 'Crocodile' and manufactured by Chillington tools.  They are fantastic for digging up soil and vegetation without bending your back.  I noticed quite a few smallholders on our holiday in the Algarve last year using them.  The tunnel is 12 foot x 20 foot and it cost us 500 Euro.  Plus I gave my neighbour a few beer tokens for helping us construct it.
Inside the tunnel.  Notice the vintage tractor rims and a modern plastic bath (drilled with drainage holes) for planters.  The path is Mypex landscape fabric.  I need to get some 6 inch nails to hold it down.  The green-windbreak on the back gives the tunnel great ventilation.
Organic poultry manure pellets are in the green bucket.  Again these came from my Aldi garden centre.  The door is made of polythene and wooden battens.  I am going to make an inside windbreak door to give more ventilation and keep out the cabbage white butterflies, Domino our cat and birds.  
The seed potatoes just about to get covered with soil.

What's your next project on your allotment or smallholding?


  1. I have always wanted one on the field, but alas I am not allowed....
    Looks good!

  2. Looking good. My patch is all dug over, and I'm now waiting to rotovate, then the onions will go in. The rest can wait a while.

  3. Thanks John. Waltons UK sell Polycarbonate greenhouses. They are said to be pet friendly and you don't have the worry of them damaging the polythene or glass. The British Isles climate is so variable that we gardeners need outside rooms to grow vegetables and flowers and fruit even when the weather is terrible.

  4. Hi Cro, I never thought I would get on my veg plot again. A well dug veg patch is a work of art in itself. Without any vegetables growing in it. Laid some more concrete slat paths yesterday and sowed a new lawn. Thanks!

  5. Great job, and am taking notice. We hope to get a polytunnel this autumn so we can get it ready over the winter. Still have not got our veg plot prepared for this year yet though, as we are still busy fencing the plot to keep the chicken and geese away from it. In truth, I think this year will be taken up with preparing everything for next year!

  6. Thanks, Vera. I also have quite a bit of fencing to do repair before we put the cattle out to their summer grazing. Some times it's worth employing somebody to help you around the smallholding with a few jobs now and again. I suffer from a long term back injury and every now and again I over do it and pay for it afterwards. The peas in the new polytunnel have started sprouting already. I look forward to reading all about your smallholding. Thanks!

  7. Looks good, be interesting to see how well the potatoes do in a poly-tunnel, I've never seen them grown that way.
    Maybe a good idea to use a few of the slotted concrete slabs as a semi-permanent path up the middle? Or is that not a good idea?
    Like the idea of using the old tractor wheels as a planter, should be ideal for a few tomatoes or cucumbers, and no doubt the bath will grow excellent salad stuff and some prize carrots. A lesson in recycling.

    Weather taken a turn for the worse here, gone back to cold wind and rain, but plenty of signs of life on my morning wander, everything's budding birds very busy as well.
    Lambs starting to make an appearance in the fields, they're looking well, hope the weather keeps warm to give them a good start.

    Raggy cat spending a lot more time outside, patrolling its territory, still comes in every morning for its milk and biccies. It's discovered that our bed is an ideal sleeping station, not hat we're bothered, it's a very clean little animal.

  8. Look at all that growing space! Just the right time of year as well. I fancy having a few hotter weather trees in my large greenhouse if I ever get it up. Like a apricot or nectarine.

  9. Hi Cumbrian, We planted the potatoes outside the tunnel. Think I will try some in the tunnel in a planter. Just to make them grow faster. I have grown potatoes in pots in the window in the house before. Think it would be good to grow some potatoes for Christmas.

    I once read that the old estate walled kitchen gardeners would grow a Tomtato. The potato and the tomato are cousins. They legend is that the gardeners would graft the tomato stalk and potato haulm together and they would have a plant with tomatoes on the top and potatoes underneath. Anybody know if it's true?

    Slats paths in the polytunnel is a very good idea - thanks!

    Trying to keep a good rotation by not growing directly into the soil. Cabbage seeds have germinated already.

    Weather is supposed to go bad later today. Glad we have somewhere to grow things when its raining.


  10. Yes Kev. It's great to plant and sow. Even when the weather is bad outside. I would like a grape vine in the tunnel. Look forward to reading all about your new greenhouse and your exotic trees. Thanks!


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