Polytunnel Update June 2013 In The Garden Of Eve

Just a quick update of my polytunnel in the Garden Of Eve. Thank you for watching and please stay tuned and SUBSCRIBE to my video channel on the link at the bottom of the picture so that you dont miss out on lots more useful informative videos on how to ‘Grow Your Own’. Happy Gardening

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Why Grow In A Poly Tunnel


P1010654Hi Guys

I have been so busy over the last few weeks with soooooo many different things that are going on in my life, all good I am glad to report….. and boredom is definitely not on the agenda ;).  I have been working in the poly tunnels over the last week or so and  have also managed to do some more gardening outside in my rockeries.

This is one of the bedding flower rockeries on the drive up to our home

This is one of the bedding flower rockeries on the drive up to our home

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Today, I have been looking at what I have growing in my tunnels and also what is growing outside.  Everything in the tunnels is doing so well, looks so healthy and has very little ‘bug’ damage.  Outside however, is a very different story. Between the wind, which is very strong here, the rain, which is very heavy and frequent here and the slugs and snails that seem to have made their home on our land…..everything looks sick or is very slow to grow.  The carrots and potatoes are doing OK but the runner beans and the dwarf beans are all but destroyed from the unseasonable wind and rain.

As I have mentioned in my piece ‘About Me’ I have been gardening for many years and have always grown our vegetables both  outside and also under cover.  When I lived in the UK I grew in a glass house (green house) and a plastic green house, both only about 6ft x 8ft.  I grew tomatoes and cucumbers mainly and the odd bit of lettuce but there was never enough room for me to grow all the veg I would have liked.  Moving to Ireland and having a large enough area to have a poly tunnel was like a dream come true and as soon as we started to build our home I started to look for a poly tunnel.  I researched poly tunnels and looked at lots of different companies and what they had to offer.  My biggest concern/worry was would the tunnel be able to cope with the extremely harsh weather conditions that we get here, as we live in a valley and are only 1 mile from the Atlantic….I will leave the rest to your imagination but it is very difficult to grow most plants unless they are able to cope with the elements.

After educating myself about the structure of a poly tunnel and our needs for a strong tunnel we decided to buy from a company based in the UK called First Tunnels.  They had a fantastic web site which was so easy to ‘get round’ and when I called they were so helpful.  I told them what my needs were, where I lived,  the type of weather we get and they helped me to work out what size tunnel I needed along with what type of cover, crop bars etc.

I found my poly tunnel so good, I bought another, and I would love another (don’t tell my hubby 😉 ).

Why do I like growing in a tunnel. There are too many reasons to list but here are some:-

Where we live we can get all four seasons in just one day and when you are growing veg outside it only takes that one day to destroy what was a healthy plant.

In the poly tunnel however, the weather outside can be doing whatever it wants, wind, rain, hail, sleet or snow but inside the tunnel the sun is shining (OK, not literally) but the weather inside the tunnel is so controlled.

I did, however,  a few years ago decide to plough the meadow/field behind the house and grow all those outdoor veg like potatoes, cabbage and runner beans etc.   We cleared the ground, put up fencing and planted and planted and planted, It was a lot of hard labour and even harder to maintain the ground to stop nature from taking over, but, guess what, I lost and nature took over 😦   I ended up with a very bad back and a very very over grown veg patch.  We did get a few potatoes however, but the cabbages were eaten alive by the caterpillars and the runner beans…….well they ‘ran to ground’ and produced very little. It was hard to believe that there was ever a veg patch there as it had turned, very quickly back into a meadow 😦  That was the toughest summer I had ever experienced gardening, doing what I love became a ‘nightmare’.  So that was the end of that and gave in to the fact that it is not easy to grow outside in the environment that we had chosen to live in.

The new tunnel planters were half full before we even got the cover on!!

The new tunnel planters were half full before we even got the cover on and tightened!!

The new tunnel now with its cover on in ‘Poly Tunnel Plaza’!!

Growing in poly tunnel is a such a lovely environment to work in…whatever the weather!

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That space in the middle is screaming out for another tunnel…don’t you think 😉

With the poly tunnel however, it was much easier to control the environment that I was growing in.  We could only see one slight problem, that was a we lived at the bottom of a  mountainside so we did have to bring in the soil and build raised beds (needed these days for the ‘ol’ back) which is great because that means that I can control the weeds, snails, slugs and bugs so much easier than if I was growing outside and everything in the tunnel is much cleaner.

We bought our tunnel from First Tunnels 🙂 about 6 years ago and it was not long before I ran out of space.  Initially I used my tunnel to grow tomatoes, cucumbers, chilies and salads but wanted to grow more….loads more!!  We then bought another tunnel about 12 months ago and my lovely hubby built the planters, erected the poles for the tunnel and finally, when the weather was right put on the plastic cover.

We now how vegetables growing all year round,  start seeds in January and continue sowing and planting all year 🙂

Over the last 12 months we, as a family have had the pleasure of eating freshly grown, chemical free veg everyday out of the 2 tunnels, even on Christmas day I went out, picked brussels, carrots, parsnips, potatoes and salad leaves for our dinner….now I call that a huge success, for growing your own!

Other veg that I have overwintered and had great success with are, Cauliflower, Kale, Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Many varieties of cabbage and Lettuce.

Both of my tunnels are full, or will be within the coming weeks with a massive variety of veg including, Tomatoes, Aubergines, Chilies. Basil. Coriander, sweet potatoes, tomatillos, cucumbers, butternut squash, melons, celery, celeriac, lettuce, rocket, mustard, cress, oriental salad leaves, spring onions/scallions), sweetcorn, peas, beans, courgettes/zucchini, parsnips, carrots, radish, the list is endless and that’s not including all the seedlings that I have growing for overwinter veg 🙂

For me, there is NO comparison between growing outside and growing undercover……poly tunnel gardening is the best, cleanest, easiest and  THE ONLY successful way to garden in such an uncompromising environment.

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There is nothing nicer than eating, fresh, clean, chemical and bug free fruit and vegetables from your poly tunnel!

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Now, hows that for a good but slightly long explanation on, ‘Why Grow In A Poly Tunnel’ 🙂

Happy Gardening

Eve

Flaming June!!!

Hi Guys

The month of June is often referred to as ‘FLAMING JUNE’….I am quite happy to give it the name ‘flaming’ but not because the sun is shining……..oh no……we had a week of sunshine at the beginning of June and I think that was our summer over :(……since then we have  had more rain than any gardener would know what to do with.  Since moving here to Co Kerry in Ireland I have found out where the expression ‘Bucketing Down’ came from……HERE.  Anyways thats enough complaining about the crazy weather that we seem to be suffering all around the world….I think its Mother Natures way of getting back at us for destroying her beautiful planet.  On a serious note….it is quite frightening what is going on with the weather patterns….Rant finished…Honest!!

Luckily for me I do most of my gardening under cover 🙂

Well its been another very busy few days in the tunnels.  My apologies for not putting ‘fingers to the buttons’ for a couple of days………..there is definitely not enough hours in the day for me to get everything done in the tunnels at this time of year.  Im not complaining…..it is my passion…..my hobby…….and MY SANITY 😉  I find that all the other everyday ‘chores’ that I have as a mother, wife, housewife, cleaner, dog walker, cook and chief bottle washer are the things that I don’t have time for and wish I could put on hold while I get on with growing my veggies……Don’t get me wrong……I love my family and they come before ANYTHING else….. even the gardening!!

I cleared a few of the raised beds in the big tunnel ready for new crops to go in.

Where the potatoes were growing, I dug over the bed and added lots of organic compost and we…..well my lovely hubby and I put up a trellis for the cucumbers and the squash plants to grow up.  I know it looks big….well it is quite large…..I have recycled one of the fences that I used for my hens pen (that’s a story for another day…hens, that is!!)  It fits perfectly into the raised be and we have tied it to the crop bars so that it stays in place.

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The reason for using a trellis is so that I can use the rest of the raised bed for growing other veggies such as celery, lettuce and rocket which are quite happy to have a little shade which they will get from the cucumbers and squashes as they grow.

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These are just SOME of the cucumbers which I have planted!

The Cherry Tomato hanging baskets are finally hanging up…..I put them into the new larger tunnel as we still haven’t had a chance to change the cover in the old one……and we have tomatoes…..they look like little green peas at the moment but hopefully they will be my little red cherry toms in no time at all.

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The sweetcorn is looking good now along with the courgettes/zucchini and the beans (which have yet to appear). Image

I have nearly cleared the rest of the parsnip bed ready to plant another batch of parsnips and some carrots.  The parsnips (tender and true) are doing extremely well and looks so healthy…..must thin them out soon but I try and wait so that we can use them for dinner!Image

The salad leaves, rocket and mustard are doing really really well…..luckily we love salad and just like tomatoes…….the flavour is amazing and the variety that you can grow yourself you could never buy in the shops!Image

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I have also been very busy doing a couple of videos on how to grow your cucumbers and squashes up a trellis and another on growing corn, courgettes/zucchini and peppers. I will edit these and upload in the next few days along with a blog to explain the videos in more detail.

OK must head back out to the tunnels and get muddy!!

Thanks for following and Happy Gardening

Eve