Sunday, May 19, 2013

Skinning the new polytunnel.

Four of us spent all last Wednesday preparing the new "Baby" polytunnel ready for skinning (constructing the side-venting, putting the last few pieces of timber in place, making sure all the necessary pieces were on hand, loading the wheelbarrow with tools, reading the instructions again, and forming a plan for the next day), then on Thursday 16th at 08:00 we were joined by 13 volunteers to get the polythene skin in place.
Reading and understanding the instructions - very important!

James and Carlos battening the side vents into place.
The weather behaved itself, as forecast, and there wasn't a breath of wind, so there was no panic to get the cover on and we could take our time and make sure the job was a good one.
Lots of willing helpers were essential to getting the cover over safely.

One of two teams battening down the sides.
With so much help the cover was pulled over the structure like a dream, with some long ladders and a bit of monkey-action on the crop-bars. Within an hour the first end battens were in place, and we had split into two teams to batten the sides. People were able to start drifting away at this point, leaving those with more time to give to complete fiddly tasks for the rest of the day.
Inside the tunnel before preparing the ends....

....and afterwards.
By 18:00 the whole skin was fully battened down and trimmed to fit, with the extra polythene panels at each end also in place, though the louvre windows and sliding doors didn't go on until Friday afternoon (and the rollers for the vents on Saturday afternoon).
At the end of Thursday, just before a violent hailstorm!
Many people worked on the tunnel during construction, but special thanks go to all those who came along early in the morning to group together when needed to get the skin over - Sonia, Anne, Keith, Morley, Paul, Kate, Cerise, Neil, Carlos, Yaran, Dan, Kelly and Chris - and thanks also to Lynne for making enough soup for everybody's lunch! Our next tasks are to strim the grass inside the tunnel, rotavate the interior ground several times, cover the ground with cardboard and mipex (woven weed-control fabric), set up the irrigation system, and plant tomatoes through holes cut into the mipex. Maybe by the end of this week coming....

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