Sad loss, Sorting the Polytunnel

It’s been a grim week as a friend unexpectedly died. We’d planned to get together this summer but it is not to be. You always think there will be time, another day, until there isn’t.

Raised Beds in PolytunnelWebsite Work

I’ve been really busy at my desk working on a new section for the website. We’ve had all sorts of problems that have thrown us weeks behind. But we’re getting there, not much left to do now, though.

Help arrives

Knowing I’ve been tied to the computer, my son-in-law Gary came over with grandson Gabriel to give me a hand. Since we share the produce, sharing some labour is fair. Gabriel’s not as keen on helping now he’s growing as he was when he was small, but he still loves a fresh pulled carrot.

Sorting the polytunnel.

I’ve some raised beds in the tunnel which needed the growing medium changing. It’s been partially changed each year but it’s really time for a refresh. I also wanted to move the beds a little to use the space more efficiently.

Emptying the beds of the spent compost and moving it would probably not be good for my back, so the help is much appreciated. The spent compost went onto the long bed on the other side of the tunnel. I’ll open the soil by levering with a fork and let things mix naturally.

The soil in that bed was becoming quite compacted, which is surprising as it doesn’t get walked on at all. Opening it up should help a lot.

Extra depth beds

In between the raised beds, I’ve a couple of sections cut from storage barrels. These give extra depth and I’m planning on some early parsnips. One bed will get carrots, the centre bed very early potatoes followed by leeks and the third bed I’m not settled on yet.


Freddy Frog, disturbed in the polytunnel whilst hard at work reducing the pest population.

The multi-purpose compost contains enough nutrients to get things going but potatoes, being very hungry, will get specific potato fertiliser mixed in. All the new beds will get some trace elements (S-Chelate Cultiv-8) as well.

The only jobs left in the polytunnel are the strawberries and the centre bed. The strawberries need to come out of the hanging baskets, new growing medium into the baskets and replant.

The centre bed will get a good layer of compost spread over it and be forked open. I grow sweetcorn in the centre bed – it blows out of the ground here when planted outside! I often find we’ve more in common with Irish growers than English here with the climate. It’s quite usual to grow sweetcorn in the polytunnel there.

Potato Tip

I had an email from Dr David Shaw of the Savari Research Trust that develops Sarpo Potatoes.

Re early spuds: I recommend dropping some seed into 9 cm pots of compost in the living room. They will root up quickly and begin to sprout so they can be moved out to protected areas when conditions improve.

I mentioned this idea to Val who didn’t seem keen on it for some inexplicable reason. However, it struck me I could try it out using one of my large propagators set at 20ºC.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary

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