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Growing Vegetables in a Polytunnel

Updated on June 13, 2017

Polytunnel your way to variety and colour on your plate!

Are your growing your own food but are getting a bit bored with the same -o, same -o vegetables every meal? Would you love to grow your own food but you live in a region where the climate is just not suitable for growing a large variety of vegetables? If so, maybe you should consider growing vegetables in a polytunnel.

Growing vegetables in a polytunnel extends the vegetable growing season. It offers protection against the weather which enables you to grow vegetables that would not normally grow in your region or that is out of season. This will lead to more variety and colour on your plate at mealtimes.

All images are from my own garden unless stated otherwise.

Large Red Pepper Grown in our Polytunnel

Large Red Pepper Grown in Polytunnel
Large Red Pepper Grown in Polytunnel

Looking for colour and variety on your plate?

We needed a polutunnel

Living on the South Island of New Zealand has many benefits but a long hot summer is not one them. This is precisely what tomato plants need to produce nice red juicy tomatoes. When we planted our little tomato plants in raised beds the first year, we kept an eye on the weather report. Every time, when frost was predicted, I went out and cover all the little plants with plastic containers. I did this for 2 weeks and then one afternoon, while nobody was home, a hailstorm went by. Well, what can I say? That was more or less the end of those plants.

We replanted and saved ones we could but even though we cared for them well, the crop was disappointing. I picked a two liter ice-cream container full of almost red tomatoes which I took inside to ripen. A heavy unseasonal frost took care of the rest. It was clear that we needed to make a better plan if we wanted to grow our own tomatoes.

We decided to take a two way approach. One solution was to grow tomatoes in containers under a roof overhang against a north facing wall. This wall gets sun most of the day as we live in the southern hemisphere. The other option was to look into putting up a greenhouse or using a polytunnel.

DIY Polytunnel working well

Polytunnel was made to fit on the raised beds. We used sturdy pvc pipes connected with garden stakes to support and strengthen the sides and top. We cover the whole structure with greenhouse plastic. This turned out to be an inexpensive but very prod
Polytunnel was made to fit on the raised beds. We used sturdy pvc pipes connected with garden stakes to support and strengthen the sides and top. We cover the whole structure with greenhouse plastic. This turned out to be an inexpensive but very prod
Tomatoes grew extremely well.
Tomatoes grew extremely well.
A massive improvement on the previous years efforts.
A massive improvement on the previous years efforts.
Part of the tomato crop
Part of the tomato crop
Last year we had only two small green peppers which went bad before they went red. This year we gave some away.
Last year we had only two small green peppers which went bad before they went red. This year we gave some away.
There were lots of peppers.
There were lots of peppers.
Look at the size. Biggest red pepper I have ever seen.
Look at the size. Biggest red pepper I have ever seen.

Build your own Polytunnel

Have you grown vegetables in a polytunnel? Did you make your own tunnel or did you buy one? Please share your experiences with other visitors.

working

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