Wind and Greenhouses

I just heard that it has been the windiest May on record since they started taking records. And even yet as i look out my office window i can see that the weather still has not really settled as much as one would expect for this time of year.

Never the less, listening to the weather forecast this morning it appears that things might be looking up coming into next week.

So why do i need to worry about my greenhouse if its windy outside. Well hear is a prime example.

I’ve Seen Better Days

Before looking into getting a greenhouse remember to think carefully about its location, its use, and its strength. If you take glasshouses as an example to highlight the importance of this. Say a 6′ x 8′ aluminium finish with horticultural glass. It may cost between €500 and €650 depending on the brand. Sounds like a bargin, but normally glasshouses in this price range are designed for very sheltered gardens. If its located in a windy garden, then  it may end up like the glasshouse in the photo. Although it was a cheap buy, its an expensive loss.

So shop around, view the products where possible and remember a cheap bargain is not always the best buy.

Carrot Fly

The carrot fly is a pest for all gardens, and mainly affects carrots, but can also attack parsnips, parsley and celery.   Around early may the flies lay their eggs around the developing carrots; the larvae, once hatched, burrow into the root.

The Carrot Fly

To help prevent against the carrot fly one can erect a barrier around the crop at least 60cm high, as female carrot flies are very low flying this will prevent them from landing on the carrots and laying eggs.

Alternatively horticultural fleece or crop protection fleece may be used as a floating mulch to cover the crop. We have different type of fleece at our base in birr and can send it via post or courier if people require it. You can view more details about it on our website.

How To Measure A Replacement Sheet of Polythene To Recover A Tunnel.

If you need some help in measuring up a replacement polythene sheet to recover you polytunnel, then try the example below. If you want to enlarge the image, double click on it once, when it gos into a knew screen then click on it again and it will become a full image. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.

Competition Winner

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.

Offaly County Enterprise Awards 2011

Polydome Greenhouses of Birr are the ‘Overall Winner’ of the Offaly County Enterprise Awards.  Sean Gallagher of Dragon’s Den presented the award to Jonathan Pyle, Director of Polydome.

The award recognises excellence in business generally and specifically the criteria judged included the business plan, marketing strength, financial strength, use of technology and innovation in the business as well as the entrepreneurial skills of the promoter.

Polydome supply Glasshouses and Polytunnels in the 32 Counties and were first established in 1985.  Their range includes Timber as well as Aluminium Glasshouses and they are one of the leading manufacturers of Polytunnels for Gardening Enthusiasts as well as Commercial Growers.

Growing for 25 Years

Growing for 25 years.

This year celebrates Polydomes 25th year in business. And it is an exciting year with many new changes happening in the company from product ranges, to new display areas as well as many other ideas that we hope to work on over coming 12 months.

But for now it’s time to take a moment to relax and enjoy our birthday. And in doing so, we will be running many special offers on our website over the coming months, as well as a competition for a free Polytunnel worth a €1,000.

The competition is now open and will run until 12 noon on the 25th of March 2011. You can enter using our website. All you need to do is enter your details and answer one simple question.

“How long has Polydome been in business?”

So don’t waste any time, log on and you could be in with a chance to win a free Polytunnel.

Crop Protection Fleece

Hello All,

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:

  1. Extending the growing season for vegetables by allowing earlier sowings in spring and later cropping in autumn.
  2. Protecting winter crops.
  3. Protection from pests such as pigeons, rabbits, carrot fly etc.

Crop Protection Fleece

Snow On My Greenhouse

Elite GX800 in the snow

Hi all just a quick reminder in this cold weather. You might not be in mood for entering into the garden, however if you’re the proud owner of a greenhouse i would recommend it, Why? you might ask.

Well certainly for those in the east who are encountering the most snow fall at present they will find that a certain amount is building up on the roof of your greenhouse. At first glance it may seem harmless; however it might be worth noting that potentially it could do more damage than you might think.
For example, the weight of freshly fallen snow is approximately 100 – 150 kg / cubic meters. And once it has fallen on a solid surface the effect of compaction due to its own weight the wind and other additional factors rapidly increases the weight of the snow.

View from the inside of a snow covered glasshouse

To put it in context if the roof of your greenhouse had a surface area of 16m squared, and we received 50mm of snow which is about two inches, you would have .9 of a cubic meter of snow on your roof. This equates to approximately 80 – 100kgs. If this snow freezes the weight on the roof increases. Depending on the model of greenhouse that you own, it’s worth noting this may affect the structure of the greenhouse.

To avoid any damage or the possibility of a complete collapse of the greenhouse I would recommend that you clear it of snow as it builds up. Please note that this is perfect excuse for going out to throw snow balls, so thankfully it’s not all bad news.

Happy gardening.

Polytunnels & Frost Protection.

Our 4.5m wide model left out in the cold.

Polytunnels like other greenhouses provides protection for crops over the colder winter months. The biggest threat to plants during this colder period is frost.

Frost causes the water in plant cells to freeze. The result of this is damage to the cell wall which leads to wilted growth causing the plant to become blackened and distorted.

Under sever frost the temperature will drop to a point where only supplementary heating inside the tunnel will protect against the cold.

But before reaching this point, there are some steps that maximise your tunnels ability to protect against the frost.

Make sure your tunnel is located in the sunniest location of the garden. This allows your tunnel to heat up during the day in the low winter sun.

Clean your tunnel cover annually. This will reduced any obstructions to the sunlight passing through the polythene which will also help heat the tunnel.

Finally make sure when purchasing your tunnel than you only use a thermic plastic, which has good thermal properties. This will help reduce heat loss through the cover thus giving better protection to your crops during winter.

Thankfully its nicer inside than outside the tunnel.

Community Gardens

Recently I saw an article in the Sunday Times written by Gabrielle Monaghan. It was great to read something more positive than the normal doom and gloom that is seen in our daily media reports thanks to our current economic crisis.

Gabrielle wrote about the Mount street club Trust. It origins and how it contributes to building and improving our community.

The Mount Street Club was established in Dublin in 1934. Its aim at the time was to give the unemployed the chance to work in return for food. As our state improved and social services increased unfortunately the mount street club services became more and more redundant.

However more recently the mount street trust has put forward new incentives to help tackle current difficulties in our communities. It now hopes to offer the employed an opportunity to get involved in growing their own again. They hope to do this through allotments and community gardens as part of €330,000 project.

The mount street club trust is using money from the 2006 sale of its former headquarters to fund the project. They are offering up to €10,000 in grants. Community gardens have been invited to apply if they involve the unemployed in the planting, growing and harvesting of food.

As part of the new scheme, gardening experts from Grow it Yourself (GIY) a charity established last year will provide groups with access to unused land or local authority plots. The fund is being distributed be the community foundation for Ireland.