Posts Tagged ‘growing tomatoes’

I thought of writing about Bloom and I will put I’ve so many photographs to sort through!  That will have to wait for another day.

In the interim, I thought I’d update you on progress in the polytunnel.

All, I can say is, wow! You just would not believe how quickly everything grows.  Maybe it is just particularly noticeable this year, as it has been virtually impossible to get things planted outside.  Is anyone else having this problem?

I have so many things ready to go outside…. I keep hardening them off and then the weather changes again.  Even today 6th June, I’ve the fire lit and we are told that there is a possibility of frost tomorrow and Wednesday night!  For heavens sake!  It’s June guys!  Come on!

It was amazing to see so many people interested in polytunnels and glasshouses yesterday at Bloom.  I can’t ever remember seeing them featuring there before.  So obviously lots of people really are thinking of growing their own…. all I can say is if these weather patterns continue… a polytunnel is your only answer!

We are already harvesting lots of Chinese Greens, Salads of varying types, the marigolds are enjoying themselves in there.

Salad from the polytunnel

We have coriander, basil and parsley.  I’ve been harvesting courgettes this past week.  There are lots of fruit on the tomato plants.  And tons of flowers on the squash, pumpkin and cucumber…. and you should see the corn!

Corn in the polytunnel

The whole experience is still a learning curve for me.  I still have loads of questions that only time will answer!

  • Can a polytunnel be too hot for plants?
  • I have learnt that watering brings the temperature down about 5 degrees!
  • I have been watering twice a day – it seems to need it.
  • Will I still be able to grow much in it in the winter?

I am so looking forward to our first crop of tomatoes – there are so many on the plants.  And last week I planted aubergine and pepper plants…. fingers crossed they will thrive!

Tomato plants and greens

While A is not too happy at the extension to the courgette season.

Rua, the elder cat, loves the polytunnel…. it’s warm, hen and dog free…. cat utopia!


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When I lived in Dublin I had a tiny postage stamp size garden.  In that garden the effort was put into growing flowers and plants, but I did manage to grow tomatoes and courgettes most years.

Since moving to North Tipperary the concentration has very much been on growing our own vegetables.  Flowers have hardly got a look in!

The first vegetable garden

In the 7 years here, we have been quite successful in keeping ourselves in fruit and veg from about June through to October.  I have had no success with tomatoes.  Don’t know why, they grow, they flower, the fruit appears and that’s it…. they never ripen.

So this year we decided we would invest in a polytunnel.  The plan is that we will have our own vegetables all year round. We will have tomatoes – said with determination! I’m also looking forward to having our own peppers, chillis and aubergines too!  I’m not sure how it will all work out, but it’s worth a shot.

I have no experience of polytunnels at all, so I had to invest in The Polytunnel Book (by Joyce Russel) which is becoming my bible!

I had had a nice idea of having a greenhouse to bring on plants and maybe even grow a vine!  But maybe you can grow vines in a polytunnel – must check that out.

Frame for polytunnel is up!

With the help of my sister, Sarah, we got the polytunnel erected over St. Patrick’s weekend. That was a mammoth task.  Digging that trench, erecting the frame and then waiting for a calm day to put on the cover, and back fill the trench!

It's up!

So then it was over to me to start the planting.

Seed trays set up

I have been stunned at how quickly my seeds have sprouted in the tunnel.  The temperature most days is in excess of 70 deg!  Any digging, or weeding, needs to be done early in the day, or requires regular breaks out to fresh, cool air!

All that is actually planted in the tunnel at the moment are 3 very healthy looking tomato plants, and a selection of Chinese greens.  Lots of seeds almost ready though to be planted.

Three lonely tomato plants!

I will keep you posted on my progress – good and/or bad! 🙂

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