Yup. They have been planted in the new vegetable patch. Two rows of each!
I am working on the basis that if I am going to have to water the plants in the polytunnel on a daily basis, then I had just as well water a polytunnel full of plants rather than a polytunnel half full of plants.
I am not a keen gardener. I leave that to Jo. But with Jo in London this week and time moving on, I thought I should lend a hand with a bit of planting.
We bought some tomato plants at the weekend and these are now planted in two growbags cut in half. I have stood these upright at one end of the polytunnel.
At the weekend, we planted some mixed lettuce seeds as well as some chilli and beetroot (all as seeds). Today, I planted out the seed potatoes that we bought a couple of weeks ago and allow to “chit” in the dark (whatever that means!). I also planted a couple of rows of parsnips and 6 cabbages (all bought as plants).
Goodness knows whether any of this will grow, but let’s see.
One side of the polytunnel has been set up with staging. The other side is going to have raised beds for growing vegetables.
I picked up the raised beds and the “veggie” soil from Tommy Topsoil (http://www.tommytopsoil.com/) near Halifax this morning. I bought loose soil which was loaded onto the back of the pickup as well as two 8ft x 4ft raised beds. It took most of the afternoon to set them up, but they are now ready for planting.
Just about done. The excess plastic around the door frames has been trimmed. The excess around the edges of the polytunnel will be buried in a trench around the polytunnel. This will help ensure that the polytunnel isn’t going to go anywhere in strong winds. We will probably put a row of patio slabs around the edge of the polytunnel to keep the grass at bay – we will not be able to use the strimmer up against the polytunnel.
I would have dug the trench today and backfilled it, but the physio has told me to take it easy with my back.
Well, not quite. I found an old mobile phone while digging in the garden. We have found lots of pottery and bits of china, but this is the first phone that we have found.
It didn’t look in good shape. The battery had really deteriorated, so it was good to have it out of the ground.
When I took off the back of the phone, I was a bit surprised to find the SIM and a memory card still installed. You can tell from the photo below that both were showing signs of having been in the ground.
I wondered if I would find anything on the memory card. Or even if it could be read.
Amazingly, it was a yes on both counts.
Looks like the phone was owned by a young boy who was into fishing, hip hop and air rifles. Below is one of his most notable catches.
It is amazing what you find buried in the garden.
And I am almost there. By the end of the day, the frame is covered and waiting to be tensioned. I had to get some help unfolding the plastic before it went onto the frame. I probably could have done it on my, but it is the sort of job that would take an hour on your own or 5 mins with two people. I opted for the two person approach and Rob North kindly lent a hand.
It is starting to look like a polytunnel now, particularly from the inside!
The next job is to tension the plastic and cut off the excess, but that will have to wait until tomorrow.
Well, again today, it was really only half a day on the polytunnel. I had to go to the builders merchant this morning and I didn’t get started on the polytunnel until after lunch.
I decided to redo the first door frame that I had installed. Looking back at it, it wasn’t completely vertical and you didn’t really notice until you should back and looked at it. If I didn’t put it right, it would always annoy me in the future. So with that sorted it was then a case of installing the supports for the internal trestle platform. This has only been installed on one side since we are going to put raised beds for vegetables on the other side.
Then it was time to start bolting the timber rail that runs around the bottom of the polytunnel and keeps the polyethene taught. By the time that I had installed half of it, it was time to call it a day. Tomorrow the weather forecast is good, so hopefully I will get the other side of the bottom timber rail done and will then cover the polytunnel with polyethene.
We get most of the framework up today, including the door frames and the doors. We had to cover the doors with the polyethene and netting ourselves. It was a bit fiddly to get the material taught, but we succeed on our first attempt.
There are just a couple of things to do before we can get the polythene on the framework. But it is going to have to wait for another day!
This morning I was distracted by purchasing a new lawn mower (and giving it a whirl in the garden). So this was really only half a day on the polytunnel.
The anchors are now installed – 10 in total – they are installed in the right position and the anchors are level side to side. The ground does slope slightly along its length, but there isn’t much I can do about it.
Last job of the day is to screw the hoops together ready for tomorrow. Once the frame is installed, we can level out the ground inside. Once the hoops and ridge are installed, this will pull the frame straight and true. Well, let’s see.
We are going to install a polytunnel just behind the outbuilding – where the old chicken shed used to be. It was Jo’s Christmas present last year, but we haven’t had the time to put it up. With the outbuilding now re-roofed, and most of the stripping out complete in the cottages, it is time to put the poly tunnel up. I have never done this before, but how difficult can it be!
The polytunnel is 8ft x 20ft – it is exactly the same size as the chicken shed that it is replacing. From what I can understand, the polytunnel should not be placed in direct sunlight (they simply get too hot) and have some protection from the elements (so having some protection from the wind). In which case, the site of the old chicken shed makes a lot of sense. It is also close to the house, but out of the way of any building work. I also purchased a polytunnel that could be moved – rather than the sides of the polytunnel being buried in a trench (to keep the sides down), this version has wooden boards attached to the bottom of the side sheeting. So if it is in the wrong place, it can all be moved. Let’s hope it isn’t!
The polytunnel was purchased from First Tunnels (www.firsttunnels.co.uk). The site contains full sets of instructions and videos on how to construct and site your polytunnel and this looks like the right place to start.
The first job is to dig over the ground underneath the old chicken shed. It is fairly compact and has a fair amount of debris covering it. I did consider hiring a rotivator, but thought the ground might be just too compacted.
It took all day on Sunday to turnover the ground. It was hard work. I haven’t attempted to level the ground yet, just turned the soil over.