Christmas is coming and polytunnel gardeners can be well-placed to contribute to a delightful festive season. Preparing for Christmas in a polytunnel can be as simple as harvesting produce for your table, though it can also include thinking about how crops will fare if you are travelling away over the period, considering decorative elements for a Christmas table, or even preparing drinks for festive parties.
A polytunnel is fantastic for those who enjoy cooking their own produce for family and friends. Growing under cover makes it easier to harvest healthy and delicious edible crops even over the winter months. In the run up to Christmas, you should check on any potatoes and root vegetables such as carrots and parsnips that you have in store, to make sure that they are doing well and will be fit for consumption when you wish to use them.
Throughout the winter, a successful polytunnel gardener will also be able to harvest a range of winter crops. You may have some traditional Brussels sprouts ready for your Christmas dinner. You may also have a range of winter cabbages, Asian greens and hardy salad crops that will add some welcome splashes of fresh green to a winter table.
At mid-winter, it is good to have reminders of the fecundity of nature and to bring green boughs and berries into your home. Winter flowers are also a delightful reminder that spring is not too far away. You may be growing perennial plants or flowers in your polytunnel that could look good as decoration in your home. As Christmas approaches, think about ways in which you can bring nature into your house.
Another way in which gardeners may like to prepare for Christmas is by taking berries and fruits that were stored during harvest time and using them to make some Christmas punch or some home-made wine. Experimenting with the flavours of things you are able to grow in your polytunnel can help you to create a drinks cabinet that is well-stocked for all the guests you may have over the festive period.
If you are going away over Christmas, think about making sure that your overwintering plants will be okay while you are gone. Cloches and row covers can provide a little extra insurance for growing things and help to protect them from pests, as well as the coldest winter temperatures. Of course you will not need to worry about watering in winter anywhere near as often as you do in summer, but give your crops some water before you go away to make sure they have sufficient before you head off for your holidays.