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When is harvest seasonHarvest season is possibly the most important time for both gardeners and farmers. This is when fruits and vegetables are ready to be picked before being used for salads and cakes, pies and stews.

It also signifies the end of a process that sees gardeners cultivate and tend to their crops, spanning from the initial sowing of the seeds through to the moment the resulting produce is ready to be gathered. This, therefore, is when a gardener will know for sure if their growing season has been a success.

If you’ve been growing your crops in a polytunnel, the results are slightly different to those being planted outside. This is because, by their nature, polytunnels are designed to protect your herbs, fruit and veg from the elements, so the cropping season will differ while they’re under cover.

Therefore, if ‘when is harvest season for my polytunnel-grown crops?’ is the big question for you, read on.   

When does harvest season start in the UK?

While the time to harvest polytunnel-grown crops varies throughout the year, there is a fixed point in the farmer’s calendar when this takes place. Typically harvest season starts late September or early October for those farming and growing crops outside.

Before the weather changes and cools as autumn approaches, the crops are cut and collected, ready to be used for cooking and eating. There are some over-winter crops that won’t need to be harvested at this time of year, such as spring onions and garlic, however the bulk of the fruit and veg that’s grown over the spring and summer months tends to be ready now.

Common produce that comes with the harvest season includes potatoes, peas and beans and fruits such as apples, peaches and blackberries.

Harvesting polytunnel produce

The harvest period for produce grown inside your polytunnel spans the year and depends on several factors. These include: 

When does harvest start UKGrowing conditions

Keeping your polytunnel pest-free and at a consistent temperature means you’re more likely to have a successful growing season and perfect harvest. Getting the balance right is key to seeing your seeds become tasty fruit and veg.

Planting timings

As with all gardening, getting the timing right is essential. Different crops are better suited to planting and harvesting over the summer, while there are some that can be grown through winter and harvested at the beginning of the year.

Irrigation techniques

How well you water your crops and the system you have in place also plays a large role in how your crops fare. If you’re new to polytunnels, setting up an irrigation system that works for you can involve some trial and error. To find out how to set up your own irrigation system, you can find out more here.

Polytunnel layout

Another major factor is how you set up your polytunnel. Where you place your crops can impact on the harvest you have. Make sure that crops that need to be closest to the light are placed high up and invest in accessories such as raised beds and trestle staging to make the most of the space you have.

Taking your time

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or new to gardening, having a successful harvest comes down to being patient and planning ahead. If things don’t quite go to plan the first time around, it may be that you need to tweak your irrigation system, play around with the layout, try different soil or crop varieties, or have a go at companion planting.

To find out more about polytunnels and the different ways to produce a bountiful harvest, take a look at the accessories on offer.

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Bees are perfect pollinators. Attracting them to your garden can be crucial for a successful crop, as well as for strengthening future harvests.

Therefore, it’s important to take some time to work out how to attract bees to your garden. In the UK, the spring months are when bees start to come out of hibernation and make their appearance. This arrival coincides with the new flowers coming into bloom.

When it comes to drawing attention to the flowers inside your polytunnel, a strategy is needed. So, to help you take advantage of the return of these pollinators, we’ve created a guide to making your garden an inviting patch for bees. Read on to find out more.   

How to attract bees to your garden for pollination

Before you plan out how to attract bees into your garden for pollination, it’s worth thinking about why they’re so important and what they need to pollinate your plants.

The significance of bees

You may have heard a lot of talk about the declining numbers of bees in recent years. If you’re new to gardening and you’ve only recently invested in a polytunnel and assorted gardening tools, you might not be aware of why falling numbers are a concern for crop growers.

Pollination is necessary for around three-quarters of the world’s food crops. Without the bees and other pollinators existing to move the pollen around and aid the production of seeds and fruits, future harvests could be at risk.

The renewed focus on sustainable living and growing your own produce means that now more than ever, it’s vital that gardeners and farmers continue to attract bees to their gardens.

What are bees looking for?

How to attract bees to your garden UKWhen bees arrive in a garden, they’re searching for nectar and pollen. The nectar gives them energy and pollen gives them protein. Keeping these two things in mind when you’re planning out your garden is a great starting point for providing a draw for bees to your plants and flowers.

Making your garden a haven for bees

Once you know why we need to attract bees to our gardens and what they’re looking for, it’s time to start thinking carefully about what they’ll be drawn to. If your crops are protected by a polytunnel, you’ll need to consider several factors to make them especially attractive to pollinators. 

Think in colour

How to attract bees for pollinationThere are particular types of plant that bees head to first. This is usually because they are drawn to flowers and can see certain colours better than others. Purples, violets and blues are the colours they see best, so planting purple-flowering plants such as lavender, chives and comfrey will most likely hold appeal.

Even if you’re mostly focusing on growing crops in your polytunnel, cultivating a corner filled with flowers is a good way to attract bees. Once they’re inside, they’re more likely to visit some of your flowering crops.

Be practical

While bees love flowers, it’s worth planning your summer salads and fruit bowls around attracting bees too. Popular crops for bees include apples, strawberries and onions, as well as tomatoes, potatoes and aubergines.

Keep it cool

How to attract bees to your garden for pollinationEven in the early spring, your polytunnel can get very warm as soon as the sun comes out. Keeping it well-ventilated by opening the doors helps to cool it down as well as allowing bees and other pollinators to make their way inside. Keeping temperatures in check inside your polytunnel will also make the bees want to spend longer in your garden.

Why not plant some bee attracting flowers outside your polytunnel door to draw them closer, just like the growers at Clifton Chilli Club have done.  

Clever insects

As well as attracting bees, it’s worth taking some time to attract other types of insects that can help to keep pests away. One such insect is the ladybird. Ladybirds work well with bees in pollinating plants and they also eat aphids, a pest that causes lots of problems for gardeners. Plant some fennel and dill in your polytunnel to draw them in.  

Polytunnel layout

When working out how to attract bees to your garden, much of it will require careful planning and a good layout. Whatever size your polytunnel, you can set up sections that have been specifically created for bringing in the bees. To find out more about polytunnel layouts, see our guide here

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