As bad weather hits, we often find ourselves dealing with difficult situations in the garden. A polytunnel can be useful for protecting crops from the unpredictable twists and turns of the UK weather, especially as once-in-hundreds-of-years weather events become more frequent due to man-made climate change. Preparedness in your polytunnel could mean the difference between losing the crops you have worked so hard to grow and feeding yourself successfully through the crisis. Preparing before you go is far better than dealing with a problem once it has happened. Here are some tips to help you plan and prepare for every eventuality when it comes to your polytunnel:
Strong winds can be a problem for polytunnel owners when they come out of the blue, but those who have considered where winds may come from can site their polytunnel carefully and take measures to protect it. Making use of existing barriers, or planting windbreak trees, shrubs and hedges can help your polytunnel to withstand even very strong winds. If your polytunnel is already sited and is in quite an exposed position, consider placing windbreak planting before you encounter any potential problems. Make sure also that there is nothing close to your polytunnel that could rip free and damage your polytunnel if the winds pick up, and when storms or strong winds are forecast, take some time to make sure nothing is loose that could perforate the plastic.
When situating a polytunnel, flood risk may also be a consideration. Do not place a polytunnel in areas you know to be prone to flooding if at all possible. If your polytunnel is at risk of flooding, or waterlogging in winter, consider digging drainage ditches to divert the water and perhaps to store it for later. Planting trees can also help to stabilise ground near your polytunnel and prevent groundwater run-off. Taking care of and improving the soil in your polytunnel will also help ensure that it is more resilient in the case of high ground water.
In summer, you may be more worried about a lack of water than too much of it. If you are, you will find that being prepared before hand will make dealing with drought a lot easier. The number one thing is to make sure that you are making the most of, and collecting, what water you do get. Harvest rainfall from your home, polytunnel and garden shed, for example, and store it for when things get drier. Again, ensuring good soil health and mulching well with plenty of organic matter will also help to make your polytunnel more resilient.