Polytunnel growing v outside growing

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Odsox
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Polytunnel growing v outside growing

Post: #195701 Odsox
Sun May 09, 2010 2:48 pm

OK, first off I must come clean and admit that I got myself another polytunnel back in the winter.
After 4 dismal cold wet summers and losing a lot of veg to rust last year, I decided that enough was enough. The inkling of what I should do came when last year after I pricked out my leeks, I threw the old potting compost and unwanted seedlings on the polytunnel bed. One leek seedling decided it didn't want to die and promptly took root and turned itself the right way up. That one leek plant grew a stem rather like an oak tree while the rust infected ones in the garden had stems about the size of pencils.
Soo, now I intend to grow nearly all my veg under cover where I am sort of totally in control of what goes on ... now it will only rain when I want it to, or not as the case may be, with only potatoes, maincrop peas and some onions outside in the elements.

What this rambling diatribe is heading towards is that I am growing some of these new summer purple sprouting broccoli this year and I planted them out on the 6th April, some in the tunnel and 6 out in the garden. The weather has been sort of so-so, mostly sunny by day but a bit chilly by night at times and the difference between the two sets of plants is quite interesting.
This is what the outside ones look like ................


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and this is what the tunnel ones look like ..............
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I'll let you know how it all turns out.
Other veg in the new tunnel so far is cauliflower, summer cabbage, ordinary Brussels sprouts, red sprouts, red cabbage, savoy cabbage, calabrese, Russian kale, salad potatoes ... oh, and a Victoria plum tree.
Interesting times ..... :iconbiggrin:
Tony

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Millymollymandy
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Re: Polytunnel growing v outside growing

Post: #196167 Millymollymandy
Wed May 12, 2010 12:33 pm

I don't know how I didn't spot this thread when you posted it! Well done to you, though isn't it a bit early for PSB to be that big? I don't sown mine until about June to plant out in August. Or then again I think I remember you get to harvest yours in the summer or autumn, whilst us mere mortals have to wait until next spring? :mrgreen:
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Re: Polytunnel growing v outside growing

Post: #196176 grahamhobbs
Wed May 12, 2010 12:45 pm

Odsox, it will be very interesting to hear about your experience with things like brussels, psb, etc. I grow brassicas in the polytunnel over winter (after the tomatoes, sweet corn, melons, etc). I have had a problem with not white fly but a grey fly infestation, but that was eliminated with a rhubarb spray. The calabrese and cabbage do well, but this year I tried PSB planted in autumn, but for some reason still no spears. The cauliflower should come in the next week or so, just in time not to interfere with the sweetcorn.

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Re: Polytunnel growing v outside growing

Post: #196182 Odsox
Wed May 12, 2010 2:23 pm

It's all a big experiment with the route I'm now taking and it will be interesting to see what does well and what doesn't. As I said, my interest in this started when the leek did so very well and last year's polytunnel garlic was twice as big as those grown outside, plus I remember being told by a local that he grows sprouts in his tunnel and has to pick them with a ladder. :iconbiggrin:
When you look at it logically, a polytunnel is only a big cloche, so I don't foresee that many veggies turning their noses up at such coddled conditions, but pests may well be a problem.

MMM and Susie, the PSB is this new summer variety which I'm now a bit dubious about after reading Graham's postings. Mine was sown this spring rather than overwintered, and you can see the size by the picture. I will let you know Graham if mine shows any sign of producing spears.

Just to spur your OH into action Susie, my No1 tunnel :mrgreen: at the moment has; a 15' row of peas now producing, the same length of broad beans for next month, a short row of mange tout peas just starting to flower, 2 short rows of Sutton broad beans now producing, garlic, shallots, several different onions, lettuce, tender stem broccoli, celery, celeriac, summer leeks now producing and 2 x 15' rows of parsnips.

I promise that I will post my results from time to time especially any failures.
Tony

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Re: Polytunnel growing v outside growing

Post: #196196 Green Aura
Wed May 12, 2010 5:06 pm

We, inadvertently, grew psb in the polytunnel the first year we had it (we think we probably dropped a seedling :oops:) . Anyway. like your leek it took care of itself, over-wintered without any watering or attention at all, and in the spring produced the most fantastic, sweetest psb I've ever tasted. It was so sweet and tender we didn't manage to get most of it as far as the kitchen and cooked more of the leaves than the sprouting bits.
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Re: Polytunnel growing v outside growing

Post: #196201 Odsox
Wed May 12, 2010 6:10 pm

Well, that sounds like a very good reason to grow mine in the tunnel.
Thanks for that Maggie.
Tony

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Re: Polytunnel growing v outside growing

Post: #196204 pelmetman
Wed May 12, 2010 6:44 pm

I would love a polytunnel but unfortunatly I still like my garden to look like a garden :? and although I have built a recycled green house out of ex double glazed panels, I put it in the yard, but it still looks attractive, and even my veg bed has brass knobs on the posts (recycled brass knobs).
I know Sue would love to dig up my lawn (she's done it before a whole lawn disappeared when we lived in Brightlingsea and I was only gone for a day :shock: ) but I do suffer from the aesthetic and I have yet to see an attractive poly tunnel :scratch:
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Re: Polytunnel growing v outside growing

Post: #196207 grahamhobbs
Wed May 12, 2010 7:37 pm

Pelmetman, you can get very clear plastic for polytunnels - so you could be looking at tropical greenery even in the depths of winter!

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Re: Polytunnel growing v outside growing

Post: #196211 pelmetman
Wed May 12, 2010 8:32 pm

Hi Graham,

I have been pondering this for a while since Sue found this site, unfortunatly it was after I had designed and made the garden :roll: Just a quick question what is the life cycle of the clear plastic as I am thinking maybe shrouding my whole veg bed if I made my own frame work. I have attached a picture of our raised bed area when I made it 3 years ago. I know I can make a timber frame to cover this area but how often will I need to replace the plastic :scratch:
DSCN0195.JPG
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Re: Polytunnel growing v outside growing

Post: #196238 Millymollymandy
Thu May 13, 2010 5:11 am

Looks lovely Pelmetman! :thumbright:

I think I would need such a huge polytunnel (professional size) it would be cheaper to buy in organic veg for the rest of my life. :lol:

Odsox - I have heard a number of people, including me, who haven't had any spears on summer PSB (only mine was white, I don't know if that makes a difference!). :(
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Re: Polytunnel growing v outside growing

Post: #196261 Odsox
Thu May 13, 2010 8:36 am

Millymollymandy wrote:I think I would need such a huge polytunnel (professional size) it would be cheaper to buy in organic veg for the rest of my life. :lol:

Not necessarily true.
I worked out the costs versus payback a while ago and just spent the last 10 minutes finding it.
A 10m tunnel over 10 years would have to produce €2.00 per week in veg to pay for itself.
After 10 years the amount drops to 70c per week.
I realise you're talking bigger than that, but it's surprising how soon an ordinary PT can pay for itself (hence me getting another one)

Re: summer PSB, I will wait with bated breathe to see what mine do. I sowed mine at the end of February, planted them out in early April and the seed packet tells me I can expect spears from July to November.
We shall see ......
Tony

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Re: Polytunnel growing v outside growing

Post: #196310 grahamhobbs
Thu May 13, 2010 12:40 pm

Pelmet man, going by our polytunnel I'd say you would only need to think about replacing the polythene about every 10 years or more. You must of course buy UV resistant polythene. The thing that really plays havoc with ours is the b....y squirrels, who seem to love sliding down it with their claws digging in, shreding the polythene.

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Re: Polytunnel growing v outside growing

Post: #282520 Odsox
Sun Oct 19, 2014 5:07 pm

I thought I'd resurrect this old thread just for the fun of it.
Also to make yet another point about polytunnels and my love of them. :iconbiggrin:

My autumn crop of broccoli is now in full swing and I wondered what they would be like if they were growing outside. We have just had a little bit of windy weather and another forecast for tomorrow, so I think all my brassicas would be non-existent by now. Instead I have 10 plants all cooperating by maturing at different rates, plus 8 cauliflower plants looking strong and healthy due to mature next month. All perfectly clean without a singe slug in residence, or any other creepy crawlies.
None of which would be possible without a tunnel

This not so little 800g football sized beauty will do us nicely for tonight and probably the next 2 nights as well.

Brocolli.jpg
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Tony

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Re: Polytunnel growing v outside growing

Post: #282526 ojay54
Mon Oct 20, 2014 1:09 pm

I agree with the general tenet of all this,in terms of pest control,ease of management etc the tunnel offers a lot.It wouldn't do for me to not garden outside as well.For everyday you get cosy and dry in the tunnel,there's a boiling hot one where you'd rather be outside.

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Re: Polytunnel growing v outside growing

Post: #282527 Green Aura
Mon Oct 20, 2014 2:02 pm

Without ours we'd be lost. There's not much we can grow outside up here, so I tend to count our polytunnel as "outdoors under a huge cloche. :lol: It does get mighty hot some days though - 40+ on sunny days.

I don't know how you manage to keep it snail free though, Tony. We chuck loads out, every day. We've even bought a tank with a view to harvesting them, there are so many of the little buggers. Not that we've got round to using it yet. :roll:

However, I seem to have largely cleared it of spiders - I keep bringing them into the house in my hair!
Maggie

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Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. Anais Nin


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