Last year, we were definitely going to mend our lacerated polytunnel. Then an unforeseen health issue arose, which took us out of action for months. This year, we researched our options, measured up and bought the required materials at the start of the year.
We watched YouTube videos, and as we suspected it was a lot more difficult and considerably more painful than the videos suggest, and of course the results don’t look quite the same. But apart from several helpful discussions with neighbouring allotmenteer John, some of his timber and elbow grease with cutting through metal, we did it all on our own. I didn’t think we would, how brilliant that we managed it!
Here are some photos to show the progress over two days, and our nearly-ready-to-plant in polytunnel. We only have to bury excess on the long sides, but as they are already tensioned through the rails, this is a less demanding job. We definitely think the extra expense of rails – and aluminium rails over wood – was worth it, given the two of us managed most of it with just a little help from our little helpers.
We are way behind this year! The cold weather has delayed us by so long, we have only just begun to reclaim our polytunnel growing – more on that later. Planning to work on that though has kind of put us out of kilter with seed planting. But we did get the seed potatoes out chitting early, the end result being very wrinkled looking seeds that may or may not have passed their best.
The snow lasted two weeks over March and April. Thankfully we’d used the milder weather mid-Feb to dig and manure the potato bed. All that January planning paid off.
We’ve been putting more thought into attracting pollinators through giving over space to flowers up at the allotment. Certainly in the gardens at home, front and back, when researching new options I look for the bee-friendly sticker on the RHS and other plant web pages.
We are RSPB family members, and the Summer 2013 magazine that arrived last week has a section on the RSPB conservation action for bumblebees (pp.46-54). This includes a handy identification chart for the 8 most common garden bumblebees.
I spotted a bumblebee visiting our Snake’s Head Fritillary this morning and rushed out with my phone.
I think, from what I recorded, that we had a Heath bumblebee or Bombus jonellus here. I’d like to be able to spot the difference right away, but the differences are so minute, I’m not sure I’ll ever be that accurate. I would like to record how many different species we have visiting our garden and allotment over the summer though (another post-phd dream!).