This time of year often gives us the chance to pause and reflect on the successes and failures of our previous year's gardening efforts. It is a good time to consider what we can learn from what has and has not worked for us in our polytunnels in 2017. To help you focus your contemplations, here are some gardening resolutions that you might like to make for 2018:
One of the best things you can do as a gardener, for yourself, your household and the planet is grow your own food. As a polytunnel gardener it is likely that you are already growing at least some of your own edible produce. But you can always do better! Think about ways to increase your yield throughout the year by introducing vertical gardening, choosing varieties better suited to where you live, or planning better for succession planting throughout the year.
Sustainability in gardening is all about making sure your garden is resilient and can survive over a long time. The more self-reliant you are able to become in your gardening endeavours the better. Think about how to increase your self-reliance as a polytunnel gardener by working on new skills that will help you in your efforts, by re-using or reclaiming items from your home for use in your polytunnel, and by collecting your own seeds from your own plants and taking cuttings to propagate your plants.
You can also add resilience to your garden and make it more able to withstand the changing climate, pests and disease by increasing the biodiversity. The biodiversity in your garden can be improved by adding features such as garden ponds, wildlife friendly plants and habitats, nesting boxes and feeders. Care for the wildlife as well as the plantlife in your space and the ecosystem will be more balanced and better able to help you in return.
If you have been taken by surprise by weather events, pests or disease in the last year, think about how you can be more prepared for anything in the future. Think about problems that may arise and be creative about how to solve them, or at least mitigate potential disaster moving forward. Be prepared.
Finally, another good resolution for gardeners would be to make gardening a less solitary pursuit in 2018. There are plenty of ways to reach out – from engaging in community garden projects to help others, donating to friends or family to help them to get started with growing their own food, or even just giving some food away come harvest time. Polytunnel gardeners are well placed to help their communities to thrive. Next year, think beyond your own property and think about you can help in your wider community.