January's Top Tips

Premier team

January often feels like a long month for many people and although January is a calmer month in the polytunnel, time really does fly and the busy growing months will soon be upon us.

Start as you mean to go on and draw up a cropping PLAN for inside your polytunnel this year. Consider what worked well for you and your plants last year and plan any changes you want to make, eg, to the layout, in your tunnel.

If not already done, SORT out any plant labels and ORDER seeds ready for the busy late-winter and early-spring months. Don’t forget that a polytunnel stretches the growing season at both ends of the year – You do not want to wait too long for your seeds to arrive and miss your first chance of sowing.

Keep on top of TIDYING and REPAIRING the polytunnel cover. Algon is the ideal way to clean the polytunnel cover, and repair tape acts as a plaster for the polythene when strong winds cause debris to fly past.

A British winter can be very wild, so be PREPARED for bad weather – Secure your polytunnel against strong winds and storms by ensuring that door catches are fixed tight and that doors and side vents are secure. Doors which rattle in gales can be reinforced using timber braces or a heavy weight against the door. We recommend that heavy snowfall is brushed off the tunnel as soon as possible. The weight of a big snowfall can put strain on the frame and may cause the polythene cover to stretch and sag if left to lie on the roof. REMOVE excess snow by tapping on the sides of the cover and the roof if you can reach. Use a gas or electric heater inside the tunnel to turn up the temperature and encourage the snow to slide off. Use a soft brush to knock snow from the harder to reach areas.

If you are using your polytunnel for propagating, ensure pots and trays are not left on the floor – MOVE them onto staging to give the plants better conditions and prevent slug damage. Trestle Staging is a simple, practical and portable staging bench – Put it up when you need it and fold it away when you need more space.