Posted by: fromonthehill | October 2, 2011

#A history of my world in100 objects #9

#9 ….. the polytunnel. We live on an exposed site on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. From our back garden we can see across the Vale of York to the North York Moors, exposing us to easterly winds. If the wind comes from the north it whistles in through the back door. A west wind blows most frequently and blows hard down the hill but it was a south westerly wind that caused our glass greenhouse to take flight & hit the house wall one windy Christmas Eve night! Another glasshouse to nurture young plants was a no-go, so it wasn’t replaced. Around the same time the first ever BBC TV reality show, Casterway 2000 was shown. It showed the casterways living on the island of Tarensey, a small island just west of Harris, in the Scottish Outer Hebridies. On Tarensey, way out in the Atlantic they had big winds & polytunnels! We put the two bits of information together & realised that a polytunnel could be just what we needed. Our polytunnel sits between the house & a stone wall to the west of the house. It has stayed firm in some big big winds & allowed us to do far more than nurture young plants. We have grown salad leaves, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, beetroot, herbs such as basil & parsley, courgettes, carrots, french beans, calabrese, cauliflower and cabbage as well as bringing on thousands of bedding plants. It enables us to protect plants against slugs, snails & insects without too much chemical intervention & to have an ongoing supply of foodstuffs like lettuce throughout the spring & summer. It’s very much my domain, just having a bit of help from himself with the first dig over of the season or any restructuring & I love to retreat to the tunnel either to sew crops or to see what has grown. #9, the polytunnel.

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