Once we've germinated seeds and raised plants in our Propagation Station polytunnel, we harden them off outside - if they are to be outdoor rather than polytunnel plants (see below) - before planting them out in the fields. The hardening off area has grown piecemeal over the past decade, using old tables, chairs, benches, pallets etc... and was in serious need of an overhaul. Another job for the winter. First we cleared the area completely, then we dug out the perennial weed roots (dock, dandelion, nettle), laid a weed suppressant membrane, and finally rebuilt the benches in a much more organised and spacious manner.
|The area all cleared and ready to rebuild.|
|Our new array of four long hardening-off benches.|
We produce our veg in nine ways:-
- Sow in trays in the hot-bed, then harden off inside the propagation tunnel, before transplanting to final positions inside another polytunnel (aubergines, peppers, chillies, tomatoes, cucumbers, French beans).
- Sow in trays in the propagation tunnel, then transplant to final positions inside another polytunnel (salads, lettuces, herbs, green sprouting broccoli, oriental greens, spinach, mange-tout).
- Sow in trays in the propagation tunnel, then harden off outside, before transplanting to final positions in the field (kale, leeks, purple sprouting broccoli, spring greens, runner beans, peas, salads).
- Sow in trays in the hot bed, harden off first in the propagation tunnel and then outside, before transplanting to final positions outside (courgettes, squash, globe artichokes).
- Direct sow into the polytunnels (radishes, rocket, carrots, mooli).
- Direct sow into the fields (chard, beetroot, carrots, parsnips, radishes, turnips, swede).
- Plant into the field from sets (onions, shallots) or tubers (potatoes, jerusalem artichokes).
- Plant into a polytunnel from sets (garlic).
- Allow perennial plants to reproduce or self-seed naturally (kale, purple sprouting broccoli, jerusalem artichokes, parsley, lamb's lettuce, tree spinach, elephant garlic, chervil).
When I started that list there were only four ways, and it ended with nine, so there are probably more that I've missed, and definitely crops that I've forgotten to include...