In polytunnel gardening, you will often get advice about growing vegetables and be encouraged to grow a vast array of produce. Let's turn the whole thing on its head for a while and examine reasons not to plant certain vegetables in your polytunnel. There are a wide range of reasons why you might choose not to plant something. Here are some things to think about when planning what to grow in your polytunnel:
One of the top considerations when deciding what to grow is where you live. The crops that grow well in the far south may not do so well further north, even in a polytunnel. Microclimates also factor in. You may have a very sheltered site, or a more exposed one, may live at higher elevations, or on the coast. The soil may also differ considerably, and make it difficult to grow certain things. Be realistic about the limitations of your location and individual site when choosing which plants to expend your efforts on.
Space is another major consideration. Large or small, your growing space is finite. It is easy to become carried away and try to grow too much. It is always better to grow less, better. So pay attention to spacing considerations when planning your polytunnel garden.
Time is another limiting factor in polytunnel gardening, both the time you as a gardener have to spend tending crops, and also the time each crop takes to come to fruition. When deciding whether or not to plant a certain vegetable, you should consider not only how much space it takes but also how much time. Will planting earlier prevent you sowing and growing something more crucial later in the year?
Tastes vary. While most of the world may love the flavour of a certain crop, that does not mean that it will automatically be right for you. Don't be wooed by fancy new varieties of crops that you will not eat – this really does defeat the object. Always cater for the specific needs of you and your household when planning your polytunnel garden.
Even vegetables you may love may not be the right plants to grow. Even if you do grow some, it may be best to decide to grow far fewer. Think carefully about last year's harvest, and whether you had more of something than you could really handle. If you did, instead of doing the same again this year, think about diversifying to reduce waste.