A year of cultivation under cover is a guide for every gardening enthusiast who wants to grow in a polytunnel. Each month in the greenhouse, different duties are required. By carefully cultivating crops and maintaining the right conditions, there is a guarantee of regular fruit, vegetables and herbs collection throughout the year. This time in this blog, we will describe the 12 months cycle in a greenhouse.
January in the greenhouse
Structures are designed for year-round use. However, to maintain plants’ growth, it is necessary to keep a positive temperature. In that case, snow in contact with the foil will melt immediately. However, if you do not plan to heat your crops, you will have to rely on low rainfall or systematic snow removal. Frames, if made of hot-dip galvanized steel, can be left outside without having to fold them. The anti-corrosion layer protects such a structure against rust, despite bad weather conditions. Apart from ventilating the greenhouse in case of high humidity and overall cleaning, not much else happens in January.
February under cover
Longer days, improving weather and less snow mean that we can slowly return to the garden. Although most plants still hibernate, there is little time left before the season starts. Remember about watering plants, although they do not require much, as deficiencies can affect health of seedlings. It is time to look carefully at the tunnel, foundations or anchors, tighten the structure and apply the foil. Check the state of flower beds and perennials, look after garden boxes, run the irrigation system or the garden hose. Fix all defects, make up for lack of activity. It is also a good time to think about whether to enlarge the foil tunnel. Greenhouses available in the store are modular steel constructions. This means they can be modified in length or width at any time with additional segments.
March in the garden
You can feel spring in the air. Plants come to life, soil is suitable for sawing and the garden is ready to be planted. It is time to dig beds, check the soil content with a chemical analyzer and, in case of any deficiencies, add the necessary macro- and micro elements. A positive temperature should remain inside during the day. If any dirt has landed on the foil, remove it in order for the cover to transmit as much light as possible.
It is worth preparing a seedbed in a cold frame. A good solution is to use a garden box for it, protected by a mini tunnel. It is also a perfect time to sow new spring vegetables. If the temperature inside the greenhouse is between 2 and 6 ° C, you can sow broad beans, radishes, parsley, peas, lettuce and carrots. To save on water used in the garden, it is worth collecting rainwater. Ideal for plants, and importantly not sterile, this water contains many valuable ingredients that support growth.
April under the foil
In April, you can already see the first effects of your work. If flowers appear inside the tunnel, they should develop well. Their aroma will encourage pollinators to visit the site. Early planted herbs can now be harvested leaf by leaf, enriching homemade dishes with fresh aromatic spices. Marjoram and dill will first reach your plate. In the fourth month, it’s time to prepare seedlings of thermophilic plants. Remember about their high thermal requirements. When allocating them a space to grow, it is worth ensuring good thermal insulation of the structure. Once again, a mini foil tunnel can help. This will create favorable conditions for growth. Moreover, it protects against temperature fluctuations. So even cold spell will not be dangerous for them.
In the case of high humidity, it is necessary to ventilate the greenhouse. This can be done by lifting the openings on a multi-vegetation tunnel. Otherwise, plants may be affected by gray mold that can destroy the whole crop. April also sees the return of snails and slugs, hungry after winter. Check the tightness of foil and doors to prevent them from getting in.
May under cover in the tunnel
Summer is on its way, and you can notice in the greenhouse. Many of the plants begin to mature, climb and form flowers. Some of them will not have fruit yet. The sun shines on the cover for much of the day. If the temperature is too high, you can use shading curtains or whitewash with lime. Potted plants stored inside the greenhouse can now be left safely on terraces or windows. Seedlings should be fully formed, ready to be transferred to their permanent site. When planting, be careful not to damage the delicate seedlings of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers or eggplants. This is a time when many pests are active. It is worth checking stems, leaves and soil for the first signs of their presence. As a preventive measure, you can spray plants with liquid manure or use ready made ones.
June in the greenhouse
In June, the pantry will start to get filled with cauliflowers, cabbage, broccoli, lettuce, radish, etc. Empty spaces will begin to appear. These should be enriched with macro and micro elements, and then planted with another crop. It is really worth spending some time planning a good rotation. Thanks to this, results are much better, crops are less susceptible to diseases and protect each other from pests. We wrote about this positive and negative interaction of plants in the article “Crop rotation under cover“.
Soil will also weaken as a result of watering and growing plants. Supplying fertilizers and liquid manure is a way to avoid its sterilization. Any healthy plant residue or even organic waste produced at home can end up in a composter. Over time, elements will decompose, turning into soil enricher. In June, weeds are a real headache and multiply at a fast pace. In order to avoid intense labor, it is recommended to mulch. A layer of bark, needles, leaves, sawdust, straw or agrotextile is set to cover the soil.
July under a foil tent
July is a usually a hot month and this can lead to some problems in the greenhouse. However, opening ventilation on both length will remove the heat to replace it with cooler air. Remember to water regularly. A good irrigation system represents a helpful solution. There is plenty to choose from on the market for hobby use. The offer includes capillaries, sprinklers, fog system and many other accessories. However, nothing stops you from using a regular watering can, garden hose or bucket. It is also a time to plant deciduous and coniferous shrubs, as well as fight nematodes. Following fruit collection, re shaping trees becomes a priority. This protects fruits from potential damage and shading from other branches.
August in the garden tunnel
Every day now you can enjoy fresh supplies: vegetables, fruits and herbs. Thanks to your care, these taste better than those bought in stores. Importantly, crops from your garden are guaranteed ecological and healthy. Just look at the bio-food prices to understand that a foil tunnel is a much better solution. In addition to harvests, it offers many valuable experiences, such as contact with nature and outdoor activities. Vacant sites should be treated with green fertilizers, dug up and mixed with the ground. Over time, humus will develop to provide macro and micro elements.
September in a greenhouse
Temperature gets low in the evening, but the plastic membrane stores heat during the day and through the night. Growth can still occur, and slow-ripening plants safely develop fruits. Fill free spaces with seeds for the following year or plant frost-resistant species. The latter can thrive with low temperatures. You can get fresh produces, even when it is snowing outside. Endive, spinach, Brussels sprouts, kale, lamb’s lettuce grow even with the cold. Therefore, it is worth allocating some space for these plants.
October under a polytunnel
This is the end of the growing season. Hothouses should be cleared of unnecessary plants, and soil improved with compost or manure. A year of cultivation under cover is coming to an end. Throw all annual plants, withered leaves, fruit pieces, etc. into the compost maker. This is the last opportunity to collect what remains in the greenhouse. The pantry should be full of tasty vegetables, juicy fruits and aromatic herbs. After a full growing season, foil and steel elements must be disinfected. Pathogens will therefore be eliminated. Check constructions and tighten frame elements.
November under cover
Spend time for soil regeneration, decomposition of organic material and soil aeration. Make sure that fragile plants are covered with foil, fabric or a mini foil tunnel. Remember about watering and, in the event of snowfall, remove snow from the frame.
December in the garden
The foil tunnel remains idle in winter. Although not much is happening inside, it is worth checking it. Look after the structure, foil, plants and start planning new ones. The season is getting closer and only a few days remain before returning to gardening. It is time to start another year of cultivation under cover.