The 2018 growing season is getting closer and closer, and next spring will come really quickly. So let’s prepare for next year’s cultivation. The following article will reveal the 4 most important practices that will surely help gardeners in the daily care of plants. Thanks to them, vegetables and fruits will grow better, and you will be able to enjoy an abundant and tasty crop.
Watering plants in a polytunnel
Especially with proper irrigation, has a big impact on the development of vegetables and fruits. Although the operation seems very simple, the same mistakes are often repeated.
- The water should go directly to the roots. Watering parts above the ground can lead to sunburns and even development of fungal diseases. The most exposed are young plants that have recently emerged.
- Plants in a polytunnel are watered less often than in open fields. Inside the cover, humidity remains much longer, so it is worth checking the soil before irrigation.
- Water early in the morning or later in the evening when the heat decreases. That way, you will avoid sun damage.
- Water should be supplied to the plant in a way that only roots get it. Therefore, frequent and light watering harms more than helps. A good soil should be permeable and have a crumbly structure, as these features improve irrigation.
- Too powerful streams of water can irreversibly damage the plants. Broken or wounded shoots are exposed to fungal infections. Do not direct the stream directly on the crop.
- With a greenhouse at our disposal, you can equip it with gutters. A professional polytunnel equipped with this installation will allow rainwater to be used again. You do not have to have an expensive set up right away. The simplest DIY system or ready-to-go sets from garden centers will work.
- Do not pour cold or ice water on plants, especially on thermophilic plants.
Circulation of air under cover
However small, is needed for the correct growth of plants in the tunnel. The foil limits the negative effects of strong gusts of wind, and creates favorable conditions thanks to ventilation systems. A polytunnel with side ventilation has folding curtains, providing air circulation inside. In a multi-vegetation greenhouse, the gardener can adjust the microclimate to suit the cultivated plants, using just the side-ventilation system.
- When choosing a greenhouse, you should consider how it will be ventilated: using doors or vents.
- The air movement under cover causes the moist air to be replaced with dry air. The ever present high humidity can lead to fungal diseases.
- During air circulation, air with a low carbon dioxide rate is replaced by one that contains a higher amount of it. In addition to light, this is one of the main factors affecting the correct development of the crop.
- In the case of self-pollinating plants, air movement contributes to pollination of inflorescences.
- Overheated vegetables and fruits are cooled by air circulation. Therefore, even during very hot summer, you can cultivate under cover.
Light and heat
Sun rays are involved in many processes affecting growth of plants. That is why it is so important to establish the foil tunnel in the right spot. Ensuring light and heat are stored inside for as long as possible during the day.
- The foil should be transparent with a good light transmission and diffusion. Green covers transmit a maximum of 50% of solar rays, while transparent covers allow up to 95%.
- Thermophilic plants need much more heat in air and soil. So when planting them under cover, they can avail of favorable conditions.
- Soil, losing heat at the end of the day and during night , is warmed up much quicker and longer in the polytunnel. It takes longer for plants to get cold , and this accelerates their development.
- The stage during which the fruits change colour is one of the most exciting moment for the gardener. In addition to the sun’s rays, it is very important to provide the plant with the right amount of heat, not just for an intense color, but also for taste. That is why the foil, limiting heat loss, is the optimal solution.
- A temperature maintained at a constant level increases the daily growth of plants.
Cultivating in a tunnel
The crop should be properly protected. Pests and diseases are phenomena that appear despite our strong efforts. Of course, you can minimize the chances of their presence in open field production, but the weather still remains a threat. This is often quite a challenge . Although we can not completely protect ourselves against these factors, polytunnels highly limits their harmful influence.
- Hail , even in short episodes, can severely damage delicate plants. Low plants can be hidden under a small foil tunnel, which can be extended at any time, and in bigger greenhouses, the foil reflects the falling frozen drops.
- A gusty wind is able to overturn and even break the plants . Inside a gardening tunnel, vegetables and fruits are not subjected to phenomena prevailing outside. To be absolutely safe, it is worth fastening the greenhouse to the ground.
- Small insects feed on crops. Foil limits odors emanating from crops and attracting them to a specific group of plants. Their access to the inside is restricted when foil is tightly secured.
- Frosts and cold will not damage crops if the foil is tight. That’s why it’s so important to repair holes, or replace the entire cover if needed.
- Birds that could eat seeds or fruits have practically no access when cultivating in a tunnel.
Is it worth buying a polytunnel?
Certainly yes! In a gardening tunnel, you can run a modern plot, grow organic vegetables and keep growing throughout the year. Many small and large plant producers and hobby gardeners appreciated polytunnels as they enable earlier planting and longer cultivation with the foil collecting heat inside the structure. Inside, the temperature is much higher than outside, the soil heats up faster, and frosts and low temperatures have no influence. Oriental and exotic plants that would not normally grow in open fields, have ideal conditions for ripening and fruiting under cover.
So let’s ask yourself, why not buy a polytunnel?