In December daylight levels are at their lowest ebb, and even if you’ve gone to the trouble of installing a heater you won’t see a huge difference in the growth rate of your polytunnel plants. However, another thing you won’t see is frost damage, even without the protection of a fleece cloche. In an unheated polytunnel frost protection is essential and without it the plants you could be harvesting this month may not have survived even thus far, let alone through the coming months.
Now is when you can really begin to see the difference between the polytunnel beds and those outside. Inside the polytunnel, you could have fat, juicy lettuces, beetroot, mizuna and mustard greens, radish, pak choi and more – but you won’t find any of those outside at this time of year! This is what polytunnel growing is all about. It’s easy enough to grow vegetables of all kinds outside during the summer, but to have your very own walk-in larder of fresh, organic vegetables at this time of year is downright special. When, for instance, did you last pick a salad in December? If you don’t have a polytunnel, you would probably have needed to live somewhere far south of the UK to do so – but if you have a polytunnel, you could live in the north of Scotland and still be able to pick lettuce right the way through the winter.
Broad beans and peas sown earlier may be taller than 30cm by now, and it could be difficult to cover them with fleece if frosts threaten. While winter varieties of both are hardy enough to withstand sub-zero temperatures, if a cold snap is set to continue you may nevertheless need to provide some additional protection. Even if the low temperature doesn’t kill them, it will cause them to droop. When it warms up again they will brighten up and carry on, but If frosts continue for too long the stems can fold over, creating a kink from which they are unlikely to recover. To help prevent this, tie broad beans up to strings or bamboo canes. Peas normally use their tendrils to hang on to things, but the cold may make them slacken their grip, and unless you tie them in place they may keel over and die.
It’s quite possible that peas will flower and even produce pods in December. If this happens, remove (and eat!) them to prevent the plant getting the message that it’s all over. They will then continue to pod in the spring.
If you need to water, try to do so early in the day. Avoid wetting the leaf surfaces, as on overcast days the polytunnel will stay very cool and evaporation is at a minimum. If the leaves are still wet when night comes, this could result in frost damage.
Tips this month apply for the entire winter period:
Keep everything well ventilated: whenever it’s possible, open the doors for a few hours even on overcast, cool days. Only if it’s really cold should the polytunnel remain closed all day. Don’t forget to close them again well before it gets dark, as once it does so the temperature will plummet.
Clear up debris regularly and often. Left alone it will quickly become a source of mould, a habitat for pests, or both!
Don’t neglect watering. Even though plants require far less water during the winter the beds shouldn’t dry out.
Coriander, grapevines - November and December are both recommended for planting grapevines as while they are dormant they can be pruned without damaging the plant.
Beetroot, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celeriac, celery, chard, coriander, daikon, fennel, kohlrabi, lettuce, pak choi, pepper, radish, potatoes, rocket, spinach, spring onions, turnip.
Celery will probably become poor towards the end of the month. However, and as it’s unlikely you have anything to plant in its place, just leave it. Once spring begins to warm things up it will become productive again for a while before finally bolting.
Please see our Top Of The Crops for a list of over 80 Vegetables, Fruits, Herbs and Spices, Flowers and Exotics.
We’re a close-knit bunch of skilled professionals who take an enormous pride in the quality and versatility of our products, But we’re enthusiasts too - we use our own products, and that means we’ve introduced lots of improvements and innovations over the years…based on first-hand everyday practical experience. We work hand-in hand with top growing experts. We even have our own allotment for some seriously hands-on gardening, often accompanied by communal summer and winter barbecues because all work and no play would be very dull!
Reviewed by you, Followed by you, Liked by you and listened to by us. We have a strong online polytunnel community, 35k Facebook Fans, 10k Twitter Followers and over 3m YouTube Views. Our community of dedicated, passionate Polytunnel gardening friends, love to share their sowing tips, growing hints and harvesting secrets with each other. But more importantly for you, as a customer or a potential customer, you can post your comments in all their glory or gory details. Come and join the Polytunnel family.
Our six man construction team has a wealth of polytunnel construction knowledge and are more than happy to share tips and advice with any of our customers. Many of the team have been quite literally 'hands on' developing the First Tunnels vast array of construction videos and in depth instruction guides. Our construction team are available to answer your questions and help in whatever way they can. Simply call 01282 601253 on week days between 9am-5pm...PLUS weekend cover on 07801 601253, between 9am-5pm.
We are proud of our products and the time that we have put in to making sure that all our products are first class. We understand that purchasing a polytunnel is a considerable investment, and whilst we have lots of help and advice on this site, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and blog pages many people like to compare and contrast before they commit their hard earned cash to buying. To this end we have compiled a list of the most common questions and provide 10 top reasons why First Tunnels Polytunnels is the top choice.
Part of the fun of owning a polytunnel is picking the brains of people who really know how to make the most of the real growing potential. So we're making it easy for you...with some of the best brains in the business! This site now includes features, produced exclusively for First Tunnels by Andy McKee and Mark Gatter - best-selling authors of 'How to grow food in your Polytunnel' and 'The Polytunnel Handbook'. We also have videos from BBC’s Gardeners’ Question Time presenter, Paul Peacock. We also have a host of growing guides from Sam Youd, presenter & judge for the Royal Horticultural Society & Tatton Park Head Gardener.
What better way to learn about company dependability, product quality and customer service than to hear it straight from other consumers? By giving customers the opportunity to share their First Tunnels shopping experience, we believe this is the best reflection of our companies’ product and service. To help reinforce credibility, popularity and reputation, we have subscribed to not one, not two...but THREE independent review companies. We value all feedback, good, bad or ugly and hope to build a long lasting relationship with our customer, through our high quality products and friendly service, to ensure they do not hesitate to order again and again with First Tunnels in the future.