We put the chickens into the poly tunnel over winter. It was good for the chickens because they got a warm home, with plenty of seeds and bugs and green things to eat and scratch. It was good for the poly tunnel too, because the chickens got rid of bugs and plants and seeds from the previous season. Plus, the chickens scratched their manure into the soil, helping it get prepared for the summer.
October, after cleaning up from the chickens, and planting some seedlings from RTBG
Right now the poly tunnel is thriving. It is warm and humid in there, and plants are growing like mad. We don’t water it very often – maybe a big soak once or twice a week. The poly tunnel is built on a wicking worm bed, which means the soil is sitting on a wet bed of gravel, and the soil of the poly tunnel keeps damp. And there are loads of worms in there too.
This year, as well as herbs, zucchinis, tomatoes, chillies and cucumbers – which are all growing like crazy – we are trying a few new things: watermelon, rockmelon and eggplant! The plants seem to be doing really well; we even have some decent sized melons growing.
I like to go into the polytunnel in the evenings, usually to escape from the noises of hangry children. I like to collect armfuls of veggies, and them bring them into the kitchen ceremoniously (because having sixteen hundred zucchinis is anybody’s dream of a summer garden). Soon I will be preserving some of our bountiful cucumbers and zucchinis. I have some nice recipes for pickles!
One day I would like a pantry filled with shelves of my own preserves. I’d like to learn how to bottle fruit. I’ve got the equipment and the books. I just need the fruit. Also, I’d like to pickle our own eggs and lemons. For now I am managing jams, chutneys and pickles.
I recently read ‘Mr Wigg,’ by Inga Simpson. Mr Wigg seems to have been living my dream. It was wonderful to read the book and remember why I wanted to move to the country, grow food and spend time cooking with it. I love how Mr Wigg potters around in his garden, and how he adores his orchard. It was such a lovely story; I recommend it!
So, back to the poly tunnel. I am looking forward to trying our first watermelons and rock melons. I can’t wait to make a ratatouille with our own homegrown ingredients! And then, when the season is done and the plants have finished producing, the chickens will come back in, and the cycle will begin again – this time, however, I will be taking seeds and cuttings of some of the herbs and flowers, before the chickens devour every last morsel!
Thanks for enduring my ramblings! x