This is the sixth in my series of blog posts, explaining how to grow vegetables and herbs which can be sown now to see you through the winter and spring – no hungry gap in 2018!
I have added the category No Hungry Gap, so you can find all of the blogs easily using the search facility.
Now the polytunnel is ready to plant out. As I explained in earlier posts, in the greenhouse I’ve been raising module trays of plants for both indoor and outdoor growing.
The plants include Grenoble Red lettuce, rockets, mustards, chard, beetroot, spinach and brassicas. I list most of them in this blog post.
A dibber is the key tool here. Traditionally fashioned from a fork handle, a dibber not only allows you to easily make holes of the right depth exactly where you need them but also enables you to do it standing up, so much easier on the back!
For larger modules, I wiggle the dibber from side to side to make a larger hole.
Some plants are already growing in the polytunnel so the new plantings are fitting in around them. I plant right up to the compost paths. The veggies spread their roots into the path making use of the path growing space too, underground. You can just about see the path in this photo below, the soil looks firmer.
There was a lot to plant – this is just some of it. These are also being grown for my work gardens, so I raised far more than I needed for my own use.
Planting is so easy. Make the hole with a dibber, pop the plant in, firm and tuck up with surrounding compost. Here, I am planting a brassica in amongst some Holy Basil – the basil will have been harvested long before the brassica grows large. Multi-cropping in this way makes maximum use of growing spaces, especially precious in a polytunnel or greenhouse.
Some things are sown direct, mostly carrots and radishes. Here, I made lines using the dibber in this side bed and sowed the carrots – variety Nantes – there. Next, I sowed radish in the inbetween spaces. The radishes will germinate and grow faster than the carrots (those are for a late March/April harvest) and so are a useful and tasty catch cro
Some of the plants were a little smaller than I would have liked. If I wasn’t flying off on the 16th, I would have left the lettuce for another week or so, but due to my circumstances I put them in in rather small.
The polytunnel is reasonably clear of pest habitat so I am hopeful that slugs won’t have moved in whilst I was in Yorkshire for a family wedding and munched the tiny lettuces. (They were planted on October 3rd, I am writing this in Yorkshire on the 8th and were fine when I left on Thursday)
The polytunnel is now 2/3 planted out. There are some more transplants to go in and next week I’ll be sowing garlic, over wintered peas and some early broad beans into the tunnel. Outside, I will also be sowing garlic but not broadbeans until November because I don’t want them to get too big. Undercover, there is less risk of damage from winter weather, but outside I have found earlier sown broadbeans are more likely to be damaged by wild winter weather.
As I explained in earlier posts, some of my seeds didn’t germinate well, so had to be re-sown and were not ready for planting, such as the spinach here. I’ll be planting it next week.
Next I have the rest of the polytunnel to fill and outdoor plantings and sowings too, plus more harvesting!