Just a few chillies from the polytunnel, they'll keep me warm over the winter

One house move, skip diving and a harvest festival

Following on from the two week family holiday to Crete in August, we came home to a polytunnel bursting with ripe toms, chillies (which Yasmin – aged two, thinks are sweets because of all the bright colours – she’ll learn!), aubergines, basil, sweetcorn, figs and grapes – however, the latter two are still very young at this stage… and the plot outside – covered with an abundance of weeds.

I have to credit my good plot friend ‘Scottish Pete’ for kindly watering my polytunnel in our absence, due to the lack of any kind of irrigation system not set in place (as mentioned in my previous post). I do hope he enjoyed the local Cretan raki we brought back as a gift of thanks, and that it eased some of the pains he accrued from a particularly nasty fall on his own plot. A trip to A&E confirmed he had a dislocated elbow and was ordered to a week of rest.

Keeping on top of your plot in the summer months is tough enough; throw in a holiday and a house move to boot and you soon learn who your friends are. LOL.

Having to take time away from the plot and especially the polytunnel, to do other time-consuming activities, only illustrates even more the importance of having a constant water supply to ensure healthy plants, if growing undercover. And with thanks to our new house neighbours, I entertained myself with a little skip diving and luckily came up with a solution to my irrigation problem. Now, there are plenty of kits available on the market and one of these kits would have been at the top of my Christmas wish list this year for sure - and could have saved me a couple of hours of tedious hole drilling.

Having just seen one of the best summers in years, both undercover and on the plot, this years harvest will be something we’ll talk about for years to come.

The trick now is to keep motivated over the winter months with tasks on the plot and the polytunnel. Me, I’ve made a start with the irrigation system which I’m aiming to have plumbed in before spring and I’m converting the other half of my tunnel into a new raised bed so I can plant directly into the soil. I’ve used this space for chillies etc. in pots this year but I have now come to the conclusion that direct planting gives better results – a far stronger healthier plant if you like. I also need to devise some sort of sky trellis for the grapevine to climb over. So a couple of tasks to keep me busy over the winter – I may even get some winter lettuce sown if time allows.

Blue skies ; ) AJ

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