Sunday, October 30, 2016

Mothership polytunnel reskinning

The storms of last winter ripped our oldest polytunnel in several places, and by Easter this year the tunnel was fully open to the elements - which this year have not been too bad and we have managed to produce crops throughout the year from the tunnel. But with winter looming, and a fine day forecast, we took the plunge and reskinned our Mothership on Tuesday 25th October.
The remains of our polytunnel this summer, with kiwi vine and physallis bush bursting through the frame.
Cleared ready for reskinning.
To cover a polytunnel we aim for a sunny calm day and a minimum of ten people. The weather on Tuesday was perfect, and 12 volunteers came to help, making 13 of us in total - many thanks to Aaron, Ben, Kate, Simon, Alice, Deborah, Mirjam, Jess, Doug, Andy, Laia and Ian for their time and labours.
Hugh's team digging in the west side of the tunnel....

....and Ian's team digging in the east side.

The complete skin over the tunnel and being dug in, prior to cutting and battening in place.
We started putting the anti-hot-spot tape on the frame at 09:00, after the sun had dried the metal, and had the cover pulled over, centred, and with initial securings in place in time for coffee-break. Then by lunch we had the trenches filled and the cover nicely secure and taut. Most volunteers were able to leave at that point (though some stayed for lunch), leaving a small group to work through the afternoon, cutting out the doorways, and battening the loose edges securely to achieve a tight finish.
The afternoon team - Aaron, Laia, Andy and Doug.
It has been a mild calm week, allowing us to leave the tunnel to concentrate on other farm work, before returning to it on Saturday to hang the doors and windows, and tidy up the excavations.
Building the front doors.

Doug and Jess at the back of the completed Mothership.
Now we have to finish digging over and planting the inside of the tunnel! But it's lovely to have our Mothership back in action ready for winter. Thanks to all!

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