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.
We have installed double sliding doors on our 5.5m wide Display Tunnel. They look great and overcome issues hinged doors can have on windy sites. A strong magnet keeps the two doors together when closed. More new products coming on stream shortly and as well as our 4 Polytunnels on display we now have 11 Glasshouses so far up as well.
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.
Polytunnel’s should be cleaned at least once a year, maybe more if your Polytunnel is nearer trees as it will probably have algae forming on the outside and debris from the trees falling onto it. There are different ways in which to clean your tunnel. Here are a few helpful tips :-
If you get a bucket of warm water and add a small drop of washing up liquid, you will then be able to use a soft brush to clean the tunnel, for the bits you cannot reach get an old bed sheet and with a person each side of the tunnel gently go along the tunnel. Be careful not to do anything that will scratch the cover as this will reduce the light transparency.
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.
Its that time of year again, if your anything like me, then its safe to say that you have at least, another 4 days before you even consider starting the christmas shop. However if you are planning ahead, why not cosider one of our Christmas gift cards as an option. It can used on Accessories, Polytunnels, Glasshouses or any stock item. Gift cards are valued for 12 months.
So why not put the spring in someone step this christmas and give them a Polydome Greenhouse Giftcard.
I would like to say congrats to Gareth Grehan on being the lucky winner of the Polydome Greenhouse 2011 spring competition. Gareth’s name was randomly selected from the hundreds of entries for the competition.
I would like to thank everyone for taking the time to enter, and wish you all better luck next time. Please keep a look out on our website for further details of special offers that we will be running over the coming months to celebrate our 25th year in business.
Sorry for the delay since my last blog. Thankfully January has been a busy month and has kept us on our toes.
Finally the weather has improved and the snow is all gone. However despite the milder days, night time temperatures can still be a little low. For anyone getting crops into the ground, it may be worth giving them a little protection from the colder nights. One solution to this problem is crop protection fleece.
What is crop protection fleece you may ask? Crop protection fleece has been developed to create a microclimate ideal for plants and seedlings that will help protect early crops and other delicate plants from cold weather, frost, and insect pests.
Available in rolls of various widths, fleece is laid out across the sown seedbed or young growing plants. It admits light, air and rain but creates a contained climate around the developing plants, allowing them to grow faster than unprotected crops.
For tall plants grown in rows or blocks, heavy-duty fleece can be used to create cloches. The fleece is normally fastened onto steel hoops erected over the crop and buried in trench to secure the fleece in place. When used as winter protection the fleece is wrapped around, or fastened over, delicate plants, to protect them from frost and scorching by cold winds.
You can purchase fleece as most garden centres, and even some hardware stores. You will also find a its on the polydome website.
The main benefits of fleece: