Growing under cover – a winter checklist
As everything slows down before winter, gardeners can as well. There are just a few essential maintenance activities required over the coming weeks to keep tunnels and over-wintered plants inside in tip top health. A quick once over
Once the leaves have finished falling, it is worth giving your plastic cover a wash inside and out to remove any debris that has settled or mould that has started forming. A hose pipe, an extra pair of hands and some old kitchen cleaning sponges will soon make short work of this job. You can easily use a couple of old bed sheets tied together and employ in a see-saw manner for the tricky top. Remove old planting pots
It is worth clearing these out and storing them elsewhere to scupper the overwintering of any opportunistic pests-to-be for 2019. Rodent watch Your tunnel will provide a welcome abode for mice and rats, so it is important to be vigilant to prevent them moving in. Mice aren’t such an issue, but you really don’t want rats making themselves at home as their urine presents a health risk and they have the potential to make an absolute nuisance of themselves given half the chance. Munched produce and holes in the ground are obvious telltale signs, and it is important to block any holes or possible rodent entrances to help keep them at bay. If they continue to persevere, rodent traps are recommended in an organic growing system as the most appropriate option. Airflow
Even though the thermostat has dropped, it is important to open the doors and windows to allow air to flow through on the most clement of days: even just for an hour or so, a few times a week should help to prevent mould build up around and on your plants. Watering
Once a week is normally sufficient at this time of year. If the temperature really plummets... Enviromesh can be used to provide that vital protection. I also use a makeshift cold frame for more sensitive plants, or you have the option of heating your tunnel to take the edge off the chill.
Cleaning the polytunnel