Preparing the Polytunnel for Autumn

This is a busy time in the polytunnel. This is the time when I begin to clear out summer crops, add fertility ready for the colder months to come, and plant in some of the crops that will remain in the undercover growing area over the autumn and winter months.

We are still harvesting summer crops like tomatoes, courgettes and runner beans, as well as a range of other crops like leafy greens. But we need to look to the future too. As gaps begin to open up due to harvesting, I add plenty of our homemade compost, and sow broad beans, peas and leafy greens for overwintering. In the next month or so, I will add overwintering onions and garlic too.

We live in a rural area and have a lot of mice and voles. So I have found it best to transplant young plants rather than direct sowing at this time of the year. I also use transplants started indoors when it comes to the cover crops I sow to protect and enrich the soil over the winter months – field beans, mustard etc..

One of the most important things during this change-over period is making sure that we take steps to replenish the nutrients that have depleted over the summer. Our chickens play a key role in helping to create the fertile compost that I spread over the beds. I also chop and drop comfrey one more time before colder weather arrives.

I also empty out our leaf mould bin and use the leaf mould from the year before last to mulch around remaining crops. The leaf bin will then be ready to accept the leaves that fall this year.

If you need some help to work out how to replenish nutrients in your garden, I can advise on this and other seasonal issues. Please do get in touch.

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