Lost – presumed skiving off – in the polytunnel (498)

by Max Akroyd

I meant to get out onto the field and dig up weeds – honest – but stepping into the polytunnel was like stepping out of the cold January wind and into a sunlit, sheltered March. It proved impossible to leave!

I busied myself (kind of) by incorporating as much muck and compost into the polytunnel beds as I could lay my hands on… it will take years of organic additives to resurrect the soil fully (this area was previously a tractor park) but you have to start somewhere. In the meantime the plantings will have to be  ‘station’-based i.e. dig a hole, put good stuff in, plant tomato on top.

The revolutionary concept of snow mulching having been only limited in its effect, I eventually rigged up a sprinkler-type arrangement and gave everything a good soaking. With lettuces to plant out and more seeds to go in this soil needs to wake up!


After a trip to town to collect more grain for the animals (those greedy pigs..!), I consumed sufficient chocolate to fuel an ascent of Everest. Instead, I cleared another ten metres of carrot bed. My strategy is clear now: think of what crop I’ll be sowing or planting out in late February and March and prepare the soil now. I suspect my three year old could have worked that one out but, being a sophisticated adult with excuses for everything, it’s taken me a few years to accept this necessity.