Never mind how cold it is in your garden; the sun is getting higher every day and even short clear spells will allow it to build up a lot of heat in your glasshouse or polytunnel. You might think this is a good thing, but not always so. Lettuce seed won’t germinate if it’s too warm, and temperatures above about 35°C (95°F) will destroy the red pigment in ripening tomatoes so they never colour up properly. Overheated plants need more water to keep cool. As well as that, high temperatures put plants under stress and promote diseases such as grey mould and pests such as red spider mites. You can’t stand there 24/7, thermometer in hand, to open and close doors and vents with each change in temperature. Ordinary mortals adjust the ventilation once in the morning for the expected daytime temperatures and once in the evening for the night, and that’s near enough most of the time. The weather forecast can help you decide how much ventilation to give in the morning. A recording thermometer can show you how you did today, helping you to fine-tune your settings for tomorrow. End doors alone give enough ventilation for most polytunnels up to about 20 metres long. Side windows, roll-up vents and louvre vents are good but not cheap. Glasshouse vents can be fitted with gas-filled struts that automatically push them further open when they get warmer, without needing electricity. The best ventilation comes from a through flow of air, so open both ends of a polytunnel or more than one window in a glasshouse. Open many vents a little bit instead of opening two vents wide to reduce draughts. Be cool!
Peter Whyte (Lanscape and Garden Consultant) B Agr Sc (Hort), Nat Dip Sc (Apic), Dip Tr & Ed, MI Hort
Traditionally, people sowed vegetable seeds in their gardens on Saint Patrick’s Day. That was because they were off work and free to do it rather than weather and soil conditions being suitable. But, right enough, the soil is often dry enough to dig and warm enough for seed germination about then.
If you have a glasshouse or polytunnel you don’t have to wait for all that. You can sow crop seeds earlier under cover and have plants to put out instead of seeds, gaining several weeks of extra growth. Sow leafy crops like cabbages and lettuce in modules for planting out later, and also a few seeds in the border soil inside to mature early. If you have lots of room, keep one courgette plant growing inside until the outdoor-planted ones start fruiting. You can then chop it out and use the space for something else, but it will have been cropping for weeks by then.
Tap-rooted plants such as carrots can’t be transplanted and don’t take kindly to modules, but you can still sow some inside for early crops. Freshly-dug baby carrots, washed instead of peeled, and eaten raw are fit for a king.
Seedlings are easiest to raise in a heated propagator. If using it inside the house carry the seedlings out to a glasshouse or tunnel in the propagator with the cover closed to protect them from cold winds as the temperature shock would be too much for them.
The sun is getting stronger, so be prepared to open vents or doors on sunny days. But make sure to close them at night! Throw a sheet of bubble-wrap or fleece over plants on frosty nights.
We now have 15 Glasshouses and 4 Polytunnels on display at Polydome’s HQ at Crinkill House in Birr. With Birr Castle Demesne close by any green fingered people looking for a Greenhouse (Glasshouse or Polytunnel) will find the trip well worthwhile. As well as seeing the largest display of Greenhouses and being able to talk to product specialists to sort you out with the best Greenhouse or Greenhouses Accessories for your situation, with good places to eat locally and the renowned Gardens and Science Centre at Birr Castle it will be a great horticultural day out.
Glad to say our Greenhouse Display area is progressing well. We have 9 Glasshouses and 4 Polytunnels up so far with more to come in the coming weeks and months. Our plan will be over time to develop the area to show not only the huge range of Greenhouses and Polytunnels we do but also giving examples of how they can be laid out, which is a question we are often asked by customers. We will also over time kit out many of the Greenhouses and Polytunnels with all sorts of accessories to demonstrate their use, so our display area will not just be for visitors wanting to buy a Glasshouse but a destination for proud owners of Greenhouses wishing to enhance and utilize their investment to its full potential. Our display area is open from 9am to 5.30pm Monday to Saturday (closed for a well deserved break between 1 and 2pm). Why not phone and make an appointment to ensure a specialist for the product you are interested in is available and minimize your waiting time.
After a busy spell of servicing orders with no time available to get our own Greenhouses up, we have finally had a window of opportunity to go at our own display area. We have built the frames of four more Greenhouses bringing the total to 8 so far on display as well as 4 Polytunnels. In the coming weeks we will complete these models and add a few more that we have in stock. It is great to see some growth now with the newly laid lawns giving a lovely green carpet – so it is out with the mower tonight.
Really enjoyed the Bloom Show. Apart from the great reaction to the Glasshouses and Polytunnels we had on display on our stand, the award winning Growhouse (Western Red Cedar Glasshouse) which we built in an award winning Garden generated a huge amount of enquiries. It was also wonderful to meet so many of our customers who stopped in to say hello. I find it is a very well run show with good facilities which helps to make attending and visiting a pleasurable experience. So put the date in your diary for next year everyone!
Polydome.ie sells the largest selection of greenhouses in Ireland and have been supplying Glasshouses for 18 years and Polytunnels for 27 years. We have full time employed Greenhouse constructors and you know when you deal with us that you are talking to someone who knows what they are about. We supply the following greenhouse types,Toughened glass greenhouses. Horticulture glass greenhouses, Polycarbonate greenhouses Lean to Greenhouses, Dwarf wall greenhouses, Large Greenhouses and small Greenhouses, We have aluminium framed greenhouses ,ceder wood greenhouses,Dwarf glass greenhouse, and wooden greenhouses Greenhouse as well as small to large size in all Greenhouses mentioned. We also are one of the top suppliers of Polytunnels.
Polydome.ie has it all from the Hobby greenhouse enthusiasts to professional growers.
We stock Europa Manor Greenhouses, Eden Greenhouses, Elite Greenhouses and Janssens Greenhouses as well as supplying Growhouse Greenhouses and Griffin Glasshouses to order.
Based in the midlands we deliver to all 32 counties using our own transport, but can courier if required to provide a faster lead time like 2 days.
Polydome.ie provides a full range of greenhouse accessories including staging, Glasshouse heaters, propagators and greenhouse benches.
If you have plants inside your Polytunnel or Glasshouse in the winter months there are accessories available to help keep the cold at bay and protect from frost damage. The crop protection fleece will work as a duvet for plants and we have a range of thermostatically controlled heaters that can be used. The heaters will have the advantage of making snow melt before it can build up, helping to protect your Greenhouse or Polytunnel against structural damage.
On milder days it would do no harm to open the doors for a few hours to ventilate your Polytunnel . Frost occurs when air stands still. In Q gardens last year the plants inside unheated Polytunnels with open doors were affected less by frost than in the unheated Polytunnels with closed doors.
Weather conditions over the winter period can vary from mild to extremely cold. If we are fortunate enough we may get a White Christmas it would be very wise to clear the snow from your Polytunnel or Glasshouse. Snow is very heavy and can cause structural damage if it builds up. You can remove it using a soft brush, a bed sheet or a rope (but if using a rope on a Polytunnel do be careful not to scratch your polythene as this reduces light transmission).
Many of our competitors Polytunnels were damaged by snow last year, luckily very few of our customers had any issues. Crop support bars are particularly helpful in Polytunnels to strengthen and protect against snow damage. A frost protection heater (which we supply a range of) can have the advantage of making snow melt before it can build up, helping to protect your Polydome Greenhouse or Polytunnel against structural damage.