November Growing Guides

November is a quiet month in the outside garden, while in the polytunnel a wide range of crops continues to thrive – unless you forgot to add some frost protection. If you didn’t address that yet, you should do so now. Otherwise, a single night of frost may kill or seriously damage many of the polytunnel crops – lettuce, pak choi, radish, Chinese cabbage, celery, rocket, mustard greens and chard – that you are hoping to harvest during the winter and early spring.

I use fleece cloches, each made from a strip of horticultural fleece about 2 metres wide and about a metre longer than the bed at each end. Hoops of 25mm-diameter are held in place across the bed, every 1.5m. I tie Bamboo canes along the top to create a ridge, adding strength to the structure as well as support for the fleece. The fleece is then draped over the whole thing, and the extra length hangs down at the ends to enclose the protected area. See ‘How To Grow Food In Your Polytunnel’ for pictures of a fleece cloche in place and detailed instructions on making one.

Because fleece prevents a few percent of the light hitting from getting through to the plants beneath, and also as it restricts ventilation, it isn’t something that should stay in place over the beds during warmer weather. My design is tied to bamboo stakes on the far side of the bed, and strings are tied to it at intervals along its near side. Then I can lift the fleece and push it back out of the way, or pull it into back position again quickly and easily.

I normally set up my frost protection by the end of October, but that’s because I like to stay a step or two ahead of January and February, usually the coldest months in the UK. They then stay in place until mid-April.

Top Tips

If you have an automatic watering system in place it’s a good idea to shut it down at the beginning of the month. Your plants will need far less water during the winter than the rest of the year, and closing the system gives you the chance to clean and maintain it as well as preventing frost damage.

Keep some water near to hand in your polytunnel, as during the winter it can act as a heat sink and help to keep the internal temperature just that little bit higher. A water butt is ideal, and once the weather warms up again you’ll be even happier you installed one – they’re great for watering seedlings while you figure out where to put the automatic system.

If you plan on heating your polytunnel over the winter, there are several options. Unfortunately polythene doesn’t hold heat quite as well as glass. However, if you put up a layer of bubble wrap inside your polytunnel you can substantially increase the insulation properties of the cover, and reduce heating costs. Polytunnel heaters run on bottled gas, paraffin, or electricity. The first two generate water as a by-product and the polytunnel will require more ventilation as a result, while electricity is the most expensive option of the three.

Continue to add compost to any bare patches that appear in the beds as you harvest your winter crops.

What To Grow

Broad beans, cabbage, coriander, garlic and elephant garlic. November is a great month for sowing garlic and elephant garlic, both of which need a period of cold weather to develop a good root system, leading to really big bulbs the following year.

Aubergine, beetroot, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celeriac, celery, chard, coriander, courgette, cucumber, daikon, dwarf French and French beans, fennel, kohlrabi, lettuce, pak choi, pepper, radish, rocket, spinach, spring onions, strawberries, sweet potatoes, tomato, turnip.

You’re unlikely to get either courgettes or cucumbers to continue right until the end of the month, but you never know...

Please see our Top Of The Crops for a list of over 80 Vegetables, Fruits, Herbs and Spices, Flowers and Exotics.

< Back

January Growing Guides

Swipe to scroll through tabs

About First Tunnels

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!

Polytunnel Community

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.

Construction Help & Advice

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

Getting Growing

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.

Other Useful Stuff

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.