This is MAJOR for us. We finally have a polytunnel up so that we can start seeds early at the beginning of the season, keep plants like tomatoes and peppers toasty warm in the middle of the season, extend our veggie-growing aspirations at the end of the season, and even continue to grow food in the non-season (aka winter). YAY!
Last year, our lack of a greenhouse was sorely felt, especially since we were trying to grow enough food to start our new market business. Without the help of a greenhouse-style space, we didn’t have produce to bring to market until July and our late fall pickings were pretty slim. This new polytunnel means that we are already so much farther ahead than we were last year. I’ll snap an indoor photo soon so you can see how things are looking inside the polytunnel, but for now, you’ll just have to trust me when I say that we have hundreds of seedlings happily sprouting and growing true leaves inside this newest construction project of ours.
I can’t take much of the credit for the polytunnel. Other than whining (a lot) about not having one, and helping with the actually putting together of it, it was my awesome partner Chris K. who researched how to build it, calculated how many materials we needed to construct it, and laid the groundwork to make it happen. He’s a rock star.
The polytunnel is 36′ long and 12′ wide. Chris took most of his construction design inspiration from the polytunnel on this Alberta Home Gardening website. As for cost, we were able to build it pretty inexpensively. We bought the pvc piping (the ribs of the tunnel) dirt-cheap through craigslist last spring, and we were gifted the used (but still very intact) poly plastic from our good gardening friend and CEED Centre hero Christian Cowley (thanks Christian!). The only things we had to buy at close-to-full price were the hardware and lumber, but even they were discounted since I picked them up on ladies day (10% off for ladies every Thursday!) at our local hardware supply shop, Haney Builders.
We’re very happy with our new, warm polytunnel. In addition to all the other benefits it brings, having it also means that we can also still be productive ‘outdoors’ despite the March rain that never seems to end.
Hurray for our mild climate that allows us to successfully grow food indoors in unheated spaces year-round!