The polytunnel of dreams is a food forest. This is a polite way of saying that it is a completely overgrown mess, but a somewhat edible mess.
I did a rather stupid thing. I often put old hay on my hugelkultur to suppress weeds, act as a mulch and enrich the soil. It kind of works OK. Yes, yes I know straw would be better but we have a lot of crappy hay that the animals leave on the floor and then pee on – I don’t want to waste it.
I tried it in the polytunnel. I mulched around strawberries and courgettes and along paths. But the polytunnel of dreams is a warm, wet place – actually it gets very hot and humid in there – of course the seeds in the hay sprouted and I grew lots of rich, lovely grass.
I was gutted.
Add to this the fact that weeds grew, well like weeds and the place looked a mess.
In my defence the brown withered pea and mangetout are part of my seed-saving experiment and not because I forgot about them – no really they are …. look I have even saved the seeds!
So this weekend, I made an effort to impose some order on the polytunnel – if truth be told I just want to be able to harvest food without disturbing snakes.
First I cleared out the peas and replaced them with some straggly tomatoes that had been sitting in tiny pots thirsty for water for too long. Then I cleared out all the old brassicas which I had picked and the ones full of cabbage white butterflies – I fed them to the sheep.
I then dug up the grass in the paths and put down cardboard as a mulch – let’s see if tiny cardboard boxes start to grow.
I dug up all the old french beans (and saved some of the seed), planted the last of the peppers and aubergines and weeded the entire row.
Yes, I still have the chaos that is the area where the broad beans and potatoes were/are and the evil middle row that is full of collapsed tomato plants and radishes and coriander that I am growing for seed, but that is a job for next weekend. Right now things are looking a little tidier.
N.B. Want to know what the massive sunflowers are doing in the middle of the polytunnel? Well earlier in the year, every time seeds didn’t sprout I would empty the soil and seed into the middle of the polytunnel so as not to waste the compost. Turns out I was a little hasty, lots of the sunflowers sprouted as did beetroot, swiss chard, celery, nasturtiums and all sorts of things. I like the sunflowers here and will plant more next year.