End-of-Season Polytunnel Harvest & Cleaning

September 20th and the nights are getting noticeably cooler. There are reports of night frosts from the borderlands of England & Scotland. Over the next 2 to 3 weeks, it is time to harvest the end-of-season cucumbers, tomatoes, chilli & sweet peppers and aubergines. [Note to grammarians: I tend not to use the Oxford comma in lists where there is no ambiguity). 

I systematically harvest each Quadgrow and Vegetable Planter as I work my way round the polytunnel. The central planters, filled with chillies, peppers and aubergines, are harvested first to free up space for dealing with the Quadgrows (cukes and tomatoes) around the edges.  Non-edible bits are shredded and added to my hot composting bins.  The coir-based 'soil' is sieved and bagged for reuse, mainly throughout the garden but also for potting up and growing winter salad.

By October 10th, the bulk of the harvesting is done.

Empty planters are hosed down ready for winter storage and scrubbed with Citrox P. The polythene cover is washed down with Citrox P and any repairs carried out; I've noticed a small hole in the roof - probably pigeons. Finally, the polytunnel will be fumigated using Garlic Candles to leave it ready for the next growing season. A small area will be reserved for growing salad leaves into the winter but it is important to start them now to make use of any autumn warmth and the limited and decreasing daylight hours.

 By October 15th, most of the work is done. The capillary matting used for feeding/watering the Quadgrows and Planters is hung out to dry on the aluminium frame (left-hand side). Once dry, any roots and soil can be rubbed off with gloved hands and the matting can be re-used next season (and maybe the season after that).

After dismantling the aluminium framework and cleaning out the water butts/pipework, it will be time to get out the seed catalogues and plan next year.


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