About my garden

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Adventures in a poly tunnel - April 2017

I've had my poly tunnel now for a year and a half. For two winters I have been able to harvest from it and it has been wonderful for bringing on seedlings and starting off plants. Last summer it was full of tomatoes and cucumbers. I grew mini peppers, which I've never managed to do before and my son grew some melons. We were staggered that they actually produced edible fruit. 
Pests have been fewer and plants have grown larger. It is a joy to go in every day. It smells wonderful (unless the farmers have been spraying the fields).
Here is my favourite picture taken in January. Look at the mists hanging in the field beyond...
The tunnel is not normally photogenic. That seems like a long time ago. We had very few frosts this winter but of course we may still get some. Now in April I'm just clearing out the winter crops which have gone to seed. I've had Cavolo Nero which has been in all winter. The plants went to seed a few weeks ago and I cropped the flower stems like purple sprouting broccoli and they were delicious! They've gone too far now and had to come out. 

Here are the new plants which have been grown this year. They will stay until the tomatoes go in. There is rocket, also going to seed but it keeps producing little leaves and sweet smelling flowers, and lots and lots of kale.  Most of us are happy to eat it often. Also some dahlias shooting in pots and some spring onions.  

  I also grew some purple sprouting broccoli in the tunnel. The plants got enormous and fell over. The cropped only a week or two before the plants outside, were more spindly and for the space they took up, were probably not worth it. I might try one or two next year. It was an experiment. 
Here is the bed where the broccoli was now cleared and ready for rocket and who knows what else. I must just clean the wall I couldn't reach it sooner. It's green. 
 I've been tying up the broad beans. The plants look very good and healthy so far. Last year I had enormous plants and a huge crop. I still have some beans in the freezer. Such a treat for a quick lunch - beans on toast! (Cooked with garlic and butter).
I've promised myself I will stake properly so this is the start of it. We'll see how that goes. 

I started this post a couple of weeks ago and they have moved on apace:

I've got more seedlings than any sensible person should try and look after and I'm still sowing more. I've got them in 5 different places so have to remember to visit them all daily. 

I start some things off in the house then bring them out here. I can lose a whole tray of seedlings if they dry out. It can get very hot in here, even in April. My tendency is to over water so I'm trying not to do that either.

I'm trying an experiment with tomatoes. Last year I had luscious, green healthy plants which took a long time to  flower. Then they got blight so it was a short season for them.
I think I'd coddled them too much. This year I'm growing them hard!
The key is to have slightly stressed plants, not too much but enough so they want to flower and set seed. 
I started a few plants off in February. They are now looking good and healthy, they've been growing on a windowsill. I've just potted them on and was thinking about moving them out here but then the nights go much colder so changed my mind and they are in our east facing conservatory. That is not to say we have a north, south and west facing one too just that it gets plenty of sun but is not too hot.The second sowing are nearly ready to be potted on. 

I must remember not to include mess in the backs of photos.
Harvesting in April - 
Cavolo nero
Theyers/Red Russian kale which seem to be the same.
Spring onions
Garlic chives
Purple sprouting broccoli

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