We’re excited this year to have our own heated propagating facilities. We’ve put up a new 30ft polytunnel and built a heated bench to give our early seedlings some warmth from below to help them on their way. It will make a big difference because until now we’ve had to buy our early plants from a nursery. It will save us money and give us more control over timings as previously delivery costs have meant we have to get lots delivered at the same time.
The first seeds were sown in early February – pak choi, salad turnips, spring cabbage, spinach, lettuce, fennel and mixed salad leaves. We’ve been really pleased with the results and our first plants are looking great. They’ve been taken off the heat to ‘harden off’ and will be planted in the polytunnels in the next few weeks. We’ve now sown the next batch to be planted outside in April – more of the same plus broccoli, kohl rabi, beetroot and chard. We’ve also sown our summer polytunnel crops – tomatoes, peppers and aubergines. They need extra heat so will germinate in seed trays with their own little propagator before being potted on and moved to the heated bench.
Beyond the basic tunnel frame, we’ve been able to design the tunnel to our own requirements with insulation for the winter months and plenty of ventilation and shade for the summer. We’ve even invested in an automatic watering system to take the pressure off weekend watering in the summer months. It’s been a great winter project and along with our borehole another great asset for the farm, saving money and giving us that little bit more control over what we do.