The polytunnel

A huge part of being self-sufficient is growing our own veges. We are really lucky in New Zealand to have an extremely mild climate, however we do still get a few frosty mornings during winter. I’m still doing a lot of learning about vege gardening but we had a pretty successful summer garden and I caught the gardening bug…bad!

Last summer we planted punnets of veges which was great, but of course the next step was always going to be planting from seed. I bought some propagators, a bag of seedling mix and a few packets of seeds and gave it a go – and it worked! I ended up with all sorts of seedlings that I ambitiously planted in the garden in May. It would have gone ok albeit rather slowly if the pigs hadn’t decided that they were lunch.

Josh and I had decided a couple of months earlier that we really wanted to be able to grow veges all year round, so after a bit of research we purchased a polytunnel. I didn’t even know these existed but once I had seen one, I knew that was what we needed. A polytunnel is similar to a greenhouse, but as the name suggests it is a tunnel shape and covered in polythene, giving you a large space to garden that maintains a much warmer temperature than outdoors. Ours is 6m long, 3m wide and 2m tall – even Josh can stand up in it!

The assembly was reasonably straightforward…

Doesn't look like much yet!

Doesn’t look like much yet

Getting there!

Getting there…








It's up!

It’s up!

…and while I thought we would opt for just digging up the ground Josh had other ideas and I came home from work to find this beautiful construction!

Huge raised garden beds!

Huge raised garden beds!

It only took 5 of us to move it into the tunnel (no big deal!) and once it was in, about 50 wheelbarrow loads of topsoil to fill the beds. All in a days work! We put weedmat down under the soil – I’m ever hopeful that I won’t have to weed the garden but I think I’m dreaming – and Josh also put a layer of grass clippings and leaves down for a bit of a reverse composting. On top of the soil we put a few bags of compost (store bought…terrible I know, but our compost pile is still a work in progress!)

Hot work!

Hot work!

A few of the seedlings that I had planted a couple of weeks earlier were ready to be transplanted so I put them in and the polytunnel was starting to look pretty good. A few paving stones, some gravel and 9 strawberry plants taken from last years crop in and we were ready to go. I’m hoping that we will have a bumper crop and that we may even be able to get a head start on tomatoes and capsicums given that on a sunny day in July it felt like summer in there!



There is still plenty more room in the garden beds (although I don’t think I’ll struggle to fill it) and with the arrival of the new Kings Seeds catalogue I’ve got a busy few weeks ahead of me!


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