A polytunnel can be a wonderful way to grow crops and plants during the coldest months of the year. If you have decided to install a polytunnel, there are several things you should consider. These include the type of plants that will thrive in it, the cost of a polytunnel, and the cost of heating the polytunnel in winter.
Plants that grow well in a polytunnel
If you want to grow vegetables over the winter but lack the climate conditions necessary to grow them in the open, you may want to invest in a polytunnel. This garden feature will protect plants from frost and cold as well as wind. Many types of winter vegetables grow well in a polytunnels, including lettuce, herbs, and potatoes. These plants can be sown as late as October and are best sown about 20cm apart.
Some of these vegetables can be sown as early as September in milder regions and will be ready to harvest in spring. Some of them can even be overwintered and sown in autumn and remain dormant until the following spring. So, if you haven’t started growing seasonal vegetables yet, you have plenty of time to take advantage of the winter season!
Crops that can be grown in a polytunnel in winter
You can still plant a number of crops in your polytunnel throughout the winter. These include lettuce, spring onions, and leafy greens. By July, peas and the first early potatoes should be ready for harvest. By August, you should be able to harvest cucumbers, courgettes, and peppers. Plants should be kept moist to ensure that they grow to their full potential.
There are many benefits to planting in a polytunnel during the winter. Plants like herbs will benefit from the warm humid environment. These plants will not only repel pests but will also boost the growth of other crops. In addition to keeping your crops alive, you can extend the growing season.
Cost of a polytunnel
Polytunnels are an excellent way to extend the growing season and grow crops in cold climates. Compared to greenhouses, polytunnels are cheaper and easier to install. They can also be insulated, which is beneficial in winter when the sun’s heat can kill crops. You can also install an irrigation system for easier planting of your crops.
During the coldest months, plants growing in polytunnels are particularly vulnerable to the cold weather. Extreme cold can kill some plants, so you should consider installing a small heater inside the tunnel. However, this can be expensive. Another option is to separate different parts of the tunnel using bubble wrap or polythene sheets.
Cost of heating a polytunnel in winter
During the winter, many gardeners are faced with the challenge of keeping plants warm. Heating a polytunnel in colder weather is an expensive proposition. However, there are ways to save energy and heat a polytunnel without compromising on the quality of your plants. Firstly, divide your polytunnel into smaller sections. If possible, use bubble wrap sheets or polythene sheets to partition off sections of your tunnel.
Secondly, you can use garden fleece. This type of material is very effective at insulating polytunnels. In addition to blocking draughts, it also keeps heat in the soil or plant bed. Another great thing about garden fleece is that it is portable, which means you can easily use it in your flower bed or veg patch. Alternatively, you can light candles inside your polytunnel to help raise the temperature.
Maintenance of a polytunnel
Maintenance of a polytunneL is especially important in the winter, when light levels drop significantly and crops need as much light as possible to grow. Cleaning the cover is an important part of preserving the polytunnel in winter and making it healthier for spring planting.
Maintaining good hygiene is essential for the health of your plants in the winter months, so make sure that you remove dead or diseased plants as quickly as possible. This will reduce the likelihood of any problems arising in the future. Also, remove loose pots to prevent rips in the plastic covering. Clutter will attract mice, so keep everything clear and tidy.
The walls of the polytunnel should be cleaned regularly with a sponge and warm water. If necessary, you can use a specialized pressure bottle to clean the walls. Regular cleaning will keep the polytunnel clean and hygienic, and will also help avoid the growth of fungi and harmful algae. Ventilation should take place every day as well. Most polytunnels are equipped with movable windows to let in fresh air.