march

With spring fast approaching, the new growing season is getting underway with gardeners looking forward and planning what they can grow in their polytunnels this year. We’ve put together some top tips to get your growing season off to a flying start this month.

There are plenty of preparations that you can make this month to ensure that your later crops stand a better chance at thriving. Firstly, before doing anything else, be sure to go through your packets of seeds and check the expiry dates, especially if you have been collecting your seeds for a while.

It might also be a good idea to start your pest control now. As the winters have been milder the past few years, insects that used to be killed off by the frost are now resurfacing much earlier in the year, so you need to be on your guard much earlier. Where possible it is best to avoid spray deterrents that can also damage your crops so it’s best to look at alternatives that will target the pests and not the plants. For the smaller (but equally annoying) pests, like aphids, one of the most effective methods is to leave vents and doors slightly ajar and just let their natural predators do the work for you! Insects such as ladybirds and lacewings will get rid of any greenflies and will also help pollinate your plants for you. There are also several pest control methods that use natural ingredients from around the house rather than resorting to spraying harsh chemicals on your new crops. You can read all about them here.

It is always a good idea to ensure your compost is ready to house your seeds; if your compost is too cold when you introduce the seeds, the shock of cold can seriously hinder the crops as they try to grow. You can prepare your compost by moving it into your polytunnel a day early and letting it rise to the required temperature (usually between 10 and 12°c) or if you’re a bit strapped for time, simply pop the compost into a heated propagator for an hour before adding the seeds to ensure they are at the correct temperature.

When it comes to sowing your seeds there are a lot of vegetables, in particular, that can be getting well underway ready to be enjoyed this summer and even in the autumn months as well. Mangetout peas and broad beans are super easy to grow and really thrive if planted at this time of year. Start them off in a propagator for an extra kick and then they’re ready to go. You can also start off your more wintery vegs now: Brussels sprouts, cauliflowers and celeriac have a much longer growing season and so it is best to get their seeds sown at this time of year to have them ready for those hearty stews in the colder months. It might also be a good idea to order any seeds in for the more delicate plants ready to plant them in the warmer months. Soft fruits like strawberries and raspberries aren’t ready to go in the ground just yet, but it can’t help to have them ready for when their time comes.

Any tips of your own? Feel free to share them with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and for more information on the products mentioned above, please feel free to get in touch with our helpful sales team at sales@npstructures.co.uk or give us a call on 01282 873120.