Along with the economic recession and a rise in the number of people installing solar panels, growing your own fruit and vegetable has also risen in popularity. There are numerous benefits to this, including a reduction in your carbon footprint and organic produce free from pesticides. However, for a novice, it can be difficult to know how this process works, from planting seeds, to nurturing, growing and eventually harvesting.
While there are numerous guides that can take you through the basics, there are also different methods to enhance growth, such as a polytunnel. A polytunnel is one of the best items you can utilise when growing your own vegetables and here are some reasons why.
Commercial, Garden and Allotments
You have probably seen large scale polytunnels at commercial sites. If you are wondering what they are, they are essentially large polythene covered tunnels that function in the same way as a greenhouse. However, as they are made from plastic as opposed to glass, they are a cheaper alternative than traditional greenhouses.
Although they are commonly used for commercial purposes, polytunnels come in all shapes and sizes, meaning they are also a great option for gardens and allotments. Figures from Premier Polytunnels show that more people across the UK are buying them for personal use, from the Hebrides in Scotland down to Lands’ End in Cornwall.
One of the largest benefits of purchasing and installing a polytunnel is the ability to control and create ideal growing conditions. If you place plants in the great outdoors they are exposed to the elements, which can inhibit growth as well as risk damage from a myriad of destructive insects. A polytunnel, on the other hand, allows you to manipulate and create the perfect growing conditions, so you can control temperature, moisture levels and keep bugs at bay.
Along with ideal conditions, yearlong growth is another huge advantage. The environment within a polytunnel allows fruit and vegetables to grow throughout the seasons, even in Britain’s unpredictable climate. Normally seeds have to be sown within a specific time frame and then harvested within a small window, but a polytunnel sustains growth all year, so you can continually sow and harvest. However, it is advisable to choose more hardy crops during colder months, as they will thrive better as the temperature drops.
In a sheltered environment you can grow a wide variety of plants. Choose from seasonal root vegetables and salad items, to tropical and exotic fruits – again, consider the weather before planting. When you have grown your produce, you will probably find that large quantities of a single food source need to be harvested at once. To make sure none of it goes to waste, follow these instructions on how to prepare and freeze your home grown produce.