9780711231702

The Polytunnel Book; Fruit and Vegetables All Year Round

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780711231702

  • ISBN10:

    0711231702

  • Format: Trade Paper
  • Copyright: 2011-03-01
  • Publisher: Frances Lincoln
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  • The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

Summary

The Polytunnel Book is the most comprehensive, practical guide to polytunnel gardening available. Whether you are a complete beginner, or a more experienced grower, this book has got what you need: from preparing the site, to simple charts that show at a glance how to get the best from each crop; from identifying and coping with pests, to making a hotbed, composts and organic feeds. But at the heart of this book is Joyce Russell's experienced hand guiding the reader through each month of the year. It tells what to do and when to do it, in order to grow the best fruit and vegetables all-year-round. If you want to try new potatoes, rocket and Florence fennel for Christmas; or mangetout peas, baby carrots and strawberries in April; as well as year-round salad, plenty of peppers, melons, gluts of tomatoes and much, much more, then this book shows you how. 300 colour photographs illustrate the wealth of practical tips and techniques as well as celebrating what can be achieved.

Excerpts

INTRODUCTION I bought a polytunnel about sixteen years ago. It seemed like a major investment at the time and, with a large garden already growing a wide range of crops, I wasn't sure how much use it would be. By the first summer I was so passionate about polytunnel growing that when winter came along I simply couldn't stop. Boundaries have to be pushed, and I wanted to see if it would be possible to keep the polytunnel cropping all year round. In the years since then, I have lost none of that passion. I've learned more and more about how to make an ordinary-sized polytunnel provide enough food to keep a family eating through winter and summer alike; and I've enjoyed, every day, excellent fruit and vegetables that have to travel only a few strides from the plant to the plate. A polytunnel is a wonderful thing! It costs a fraction of the price of a traditional glass greenhouse and it's put up quickly to cover a large space. It provides a warmer environment than the great outdoors; it blocks wind and shelters from rain. Tender crops that would have difficulty growing outside thrive in it and the gardener thrives too when working in, and reaping the rewards of, such a protected space.Maybe enthusiasts tend to go on about their passions, but at least I found an outlet for mine over the years in writing features for garden magazines. Gardeners are inventive people. They are people who like to do the best they can with whatever resources come to hand. But most of all they like to share their tips (and their problems) and to encourage new growers to become part of the gardening clan. This book is born of a need to share. It's born of readers asking when I'm going to put a book together to save them time hunting through back issues of magazines. It's also born of the questions of my gardening friends, who phone or email at regular intervals to ask: 'Is it time to sow basil?' 'My cucumber plants have flopped. What can I do?' Or, most of all: 'What should I be doing in the polytunnel now?'That last question was my starting point. This book is designed to provide some answers as it guides the reader through the growing year in an unheated polytunnel. I hope it also inspires people to experiment and to continue the tradition of sharing their tips, troubles and triumphs with other gardeners. But most of all, I hope this book helps readers to develop a passion for growing great polytunnel crops. HOW TO USE THIS BOOKThere's a lot of information contained within these pages. Some of this will be more suited to the beginner grower and some will be more appropriate for the experienced gardener. Flick through the pages and get a feel for things. Learn how to use the book, so that it gives you what you want. And don't worry if it gets a little grubby from constant use.Part 1 explains how to choose, put up and lay out a polytunnel. It also tackles the issue of planning permission. In all cases, this section is only a guide. It's always best to ask the experts if you can. Each individual manufacturer will give the best instructions for their own particular structure and some of these will put it up for you if you want.Part 2 lists some tools and supplies that you might find useful.Part 3 is a month-by-month guide to polytunnel growing. Each month has a list of jobs that can be done. There's also a list of fruit, vegetables or herbs that can be sown. These are suggestions and the text for each month gives more detail and a scattering of interesting tips. It's probably best to read the bit about sowing carrots in January if it's the first time you've considered making such an early sowing. If you've made similar sowings in previous years, however, the list might be enough to act as a memory prod. Part 4 gives an 'at a glance' overview of each of the main fruits and vegetables that can be grown in a polytunnel. If you want a quick reminder of the planting distance for aubergines, or when to reduce watering for pepper plants, this is the place to look. If you want to know more, this section will refer you to the relevant month. Part 5 deals with pests and diseases. If there's a problem in the polytunnel, look here to find out what it might be. Don't despair! There are always solutions to problems and this section can help you negotiate the worst pitfalls. Part 6 goes a little beyond the immediacy of month-by-month growing and looks at the overall plan. Get crop rotations organized, look after the soil and look after the structure of the polytunnel, and you should grow great crops for years to come.Part 7 is for those who like to 'make their own' if they possibly can. There are recipes for potting compost, as well as how to set up a hotbed and how to make liquid feeds.The list of suppliers shows just how easy it is to find someone to sell you a polytunnel, or seeds, or the pots, feeds and biological pest controls that can make it all come together as a perfectly functioning system.The best tip: get sowing, get growing, but most of all enjoy the delights of producing fruit and vegetables in a polytunnel all year round.

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