As autumn harvests are all coming to an end and gaps open up in your polytunnel, it could be a good time to consider switching to a perennial growing system in at least some of your polytunnel space. Bare root canes and trees that become available over the dormant months are an affordable way to stock a polytunnel or garden. They can allow you to quickly and relatively easily create a fruit garden of which you can be truly proud.
Soft fruits will do well in a polytunnel, where they will tend to crop more reliably if cared for correctly, and where they will not be subject to the considerable variation in the UK weather. Now is a good time to prepare for and purchase raspberry canes to plant in your polytunnel fruit garden. Before you place your canes, it is a good idea to prepare their supports first. Also take care of the soil by adding a good quantity of organic matter.
Now is also a good time to plant gooseberries and currant bushes, as this will enable them to put down strong root systems over the winter months and get off to a good start next spring. Again, these fruiting bushes can thrive in the more protected environment of a well-tended polytunnel. Blueberries will also do well when planted at this time of year. But remember that they require a more acidic soil, so may be better grown in a container where the soil is alkaline or neutral.
As all the leaves fall of the trees, this is also a good time to plant bare root trees. It may seem odd to plant a tree inside a polytunnel, but dwarf varieties can do well with the extra shelter and a polytunnel will also allow you to grow fruiting trees that it would not usually be possible to grow where you live, such as, perhaps, apricots or peaches. When planting bare root trees, remember to bury the trees only up to the existing soil line, and make the holes large enough to fit the roots along with a good quantity of compost and organic matter to feed them well. If you wish, you can add phosphorus in the form of bonemeal or rock phosphorus to make sure the root systems of your trees grow strong.
The dormant season is the best time to buy many perennial shrubs and trees for affordable prices, so consider taking the time over the autumn/ winter to increase your own stocks of edible plants.