It is easy to see 'Preppers' – those preparing for emergencies and disasters – as figures of fun. When we think of 'Preppers' or 'Survivalists' we think of extremist crazies in America running around with an arsenal of weapons, stockpiling items in their personal bunkers. But the world at the moment is a terrifying place and it is easy to foresee a whole range of potential dooms, and most of those who class themselves as 'preppers' are far less extreme. Forget the examples that you may have seen on TV – 'preppers' can teach us all a little something about how we should be using our polytunnels.
There is, when it comes right down to it, nothing wrong with being prepared. Climate change – not to mention human agencies – can and likely will cause all our lives to change dramatically in the coming years. It simply makes sense to make ourselves and our communities more resilient and self-reliant. It is not about packing a bag and being ready with emergency kit essentials, it is about future proofing your life – and that includes your polytunnel garden.
Preparing for the future in your polytunnel is all about creating an ecosystem – the ideal ecosystem for a garden is one that can survive with minimal external input. It should also ideally be resilient – able to stand up to weather extremes and pests that you can reasonably expect to encounter in your area. Perhaps your garden is in an area that floods once in 500 years – it could make sense to prepare for that, since such rare occurrences can become much more common as our climate changes. In other areas, more frequent drought may be the problem. Simply building resilience into your design, layout and planting scheme makes a lot of sense.
Growing your own food immediately increases your levels of self-reliance and no man or woman is an island, it is a good idea to be able to fall back on your own skills and abilities. A polytunnel is the perfect place to learn gardening and related skills that will stand you in good stead in the future. Learning to prepare, cook and preserve the food you grow will also stand 'preppers' in good stead in the future, when our food supplies in shops and from further afield may not be as abundant as they are now.