The UK appeared to become especially green-fingered in 2020, as the Covid-19 pandemic saw many of us spending much more time at home than usual – and even though restrictions are all but lifted, this new tendency towards gardening doesn’t appear to be going anywhere any time soon. But, as ever, there are ways to step up your gardening game – and one particularly useful way is in the use of a polytunnel. Here are five ways using a polytunnel can improve your plant care.
Grow All Year Round
The polytunnel’s polythene sheeting creates a greenhouse effect in the polytunnel, resulting in a warmer climate throughout the year. This means your plants can continue to thrive with only marginal intervention even in the depths of Winter. The added benefit of the cover is that it refracts sunlight in such a way to disperse it evenly, meaning the effects of direct sunlight are effectively reduced, allowing plants to grow unimpeded.
Protect Your Crops
The coverage a polytunnel provides prevents the entry of common pests – meaning with a little caretaking every now and then, your grows are protected from such dangers as slugs, snails and aphids. Polytunnels also regulate temperature – so, rather than being a hothouse of blazing heat and light, UV rays are dispersed and temperature regulated to ensure your plants don’t suffer the effects of sun scorching. Polytunnels also protect from the elements year-round, eliminating the possibility that any of your plants will succumb to windburn.
Polytunnels, while by no means a temporary gardening solution, are incredibly easy to dismantle and manoeuvre, meaning you can get the best out of your polytunnel, garden and plants all year round. For example, if the areas of your garden which receive sun exposure change drastically across the seasons, you can easily move your polytunnel around your garden, to follow the light. You also aren’t railroaded into settling for a certain garden layout; you can re-arrange to your requirements and tastes extremely easily.
Grow a Wider Variety of Plants
Another major benefit of purchasing a polytunnel is the creation of a climate which enables you to grow a wider range of plants. Polytunnels sustain and regulate a warmer climate, meaning you can try your hand at growing rarer and more exotic plants in your garden – plants that otherwise wouldn’t survive a harsh UK winter. If careful, you can also find ways to regulate humidity, enabling you to craft your own bio-dome for the propagation of plants that would otherwise be more at home in tropical environments.
Boost Your Yield
An especially important boon for those of you growing fruit and veg in your garden, a polytunnel can help you increase your yield. Optimizing the conditions in which your plants are growing means they’ll be growing happier, and as a result far more efficiently; allowing you to harvest more from your garden overall. This effect is acutely felt in the growth of tomato plants, usually happier in Mediterranean climates, whose output yield can increase significantly in a polytunnel if treated correctly.