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  1. #1
    SMT's Avatar
    SMT
    SMT is offline Sprouter
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    Default Polytunnel planting-early spring

    It is my understanding that growing under cover gives you a jump start on the growing season compared to outdoor sowing etc. Since I only managed to get my polytunnel finished at the end of April 2009 this will be my first proper season. I was wondering what sort of advance on the seed sowing/planting dates I could expect to achieve from the following vegs.

    Carrots-stump and long, first and second early potatos, mangetout, parsnips, tomatoes.

    Not much really but I only have so much room until the pumpkin takes over. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Many thanks
    Last edited by SMT; 26-01-2010 at 04:06 PM.

  2. #2
    Capsid's Avatar
    Capsid is offline Early Fruiter
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    I reckon:

    Carrots and parsnips can be sown directly into the ground in February if the soil is warm enough, they should grow sufficiently before the pumpkin crowds them out. But parsnips taste better after frost exposure and I usually sow parsnips in loo rolls and plant them out when well established.

    Potatoes could be sown in March. They should be ready to dig up before the pumpkin.

    Mangetout - early March. You could plant these outside once established.

    Tomatoes - early March. I prefer to grow under cover to reduce the chance of blight which has been quite bad the last couple of years.
    Last edited by Capsid; 26-01-2010 at 05:34 PM.

  3. #3
    Alison's Avatar
    Alison is offline Gardening Guru
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    You can grow early summer cabbages and cauliflowers in your polytunnel and plenty of salad crops etc. Peas and mange tout will also give you an earlier crop, in fact you can grow pretty much anything you want in there a bit earlier / later as the tunnel lenghtens your season.

    Re the pumpkin, it doesn't need to be inside and will take up a lot of space. Grow it outside instead and it'll polinate easier and you'll have lots more space for toms, chillies etc inside which really need the protection to maximise their crops.

    Just reread and note you mention crops, carrots (early varieties which grow quick will be best) will do well but I don't see the point with parsnips, they're a slow growing crop better suited to outdoor beds.

    Some of us live in the past, always talking about back then. Some of us live in the future, always planning what we are going to do. And, then there are those, who neither look behind or ahead, but just enjoy the moment of right now.

    Which one are you and is it how you want to be?

  4. #4
    SMT's Avatar
    SMT
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    Thanks very much for your advice both of you! I'll take it on board.

    Alison - The actual reason for the polytunnel is to grow giant pumpkins by simulating the optimal growing conditions that the giants require. I'm just seeing what I can fit in before the 'beast' swamps all 400ft2 of the growing area. It requires atleast that much to put on the growth. For example last year I had a 675lbs pumpkin.

    I have just been given the green light for an allotment so will grow all the table foods on the plot. I do have a 6x8 greenhouse which accomodates the peppers, most of the tomatos and cucumbers. I'll perhaps try the chillies that you suggested in there aswell.

    I may have to re-think the parsnip idea though. Having a go at long parsnips in drums but as you say they may very well be better off outside. Do you think I could have harvested the cabbages/ caulies by say Mid June?

  5. #5
    marathon is offline Rooter
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    This morning I sowed spinach and some more carrots. I have spring cabbage in the PT with kale and these are looking really good and good. The cabbage will be ready to start harvesting leaves soon.

    Just checked my journal and last year I sowed mentor peas mid Feb. I did have a good crop of peas from my first sowing and as they were early they were cleared and the space was ready for my 32 sweet peppers which were planted the week after, which was mid May.
    Last edited by marathon; 30-01-2010 at 10:46 AM.

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