While there is not as much going on in a polytunnel during the winter as there is at the height of summer, this should not be an idle time for polytunnel gardeners. While those who garden outside are ordering seeds and dreaming of spring, polytunnel gardeners will still find that there is much to do in their covered growing area. Here are some of the main winter jobs in your polytunnel:
One of the best things about a polytunnel is that, if you have planned and tended well, you will be able to harvest crops even in the depths of winter. You should still be able to harvest a variety of leafy greens from your polytunnel. Even in an unheated tunnel, with a little extra protection you can still grow a variety of hardy winter greens.
Though it may seem very early to be thinking about sowing seeds, even in January you can be thinking about sowing some seeds indoors. Tomatoes and peppers sown early will be more likely to have the time to produce a worthwhile crop by the end of the year. You may also wish to start thinking about sowing peas and broad beans that can be transplanted into your tunnel early in the spring. Transplanting peas and beans can be a good idea where mice or other rodents are likely to eat the seeds if they are sown directly.
Another thing to think about in the winter is preparing your growing areas for the coming year. If you take care of the soil in your polytunnel it will be better able to take care of your growing plants. Consider taking measures in mid-late winter in your polytunnel to enhance the fertility in the soil – think about mulching and adding nutrients with manure, compost and other useful organic materials.
Finally, if you have no other jobs to do, now could be a good time to think about getting to the spring cleaning a little early. While your polytunnel is emptier than it is at other times of the year, it could be a good idea to spruce things up a little. Put all your plant pots and bits and pieces in order, and give everything a good wash and brush up to make sure it is in tip top condition when you do the next big round of planting in the spring.