Dig in: the best advice on undercover gardening
For top tips on growing flowers and food in polytunnels try these books, blogs and posts
Growing in an Irish climate, with a little help from a polytunnel
A number of books, blogs, Twitter and Instagram feeds are inspiring a new generation of Irish gardeners to push the boundaries of hardiness by experimenting with undercover gardening.
For sound, sage growing advice tailored to the Irish climate, read West Cork-based gardener Joyce Russell’s The Polytunnel Book: Fruit and Vegetables All Year Round, published in 2011 (Frances Lincoln). Regarded as a classic, it offers tips on installation, repair and maintenance, as well as a month-by-month guide to what fruit and vegetables to sow and grow.
Also of classic status is renowned American grower Eliot Coleman’s book The Four-Season Harvest (Chelsea Green Publishing).
Similarly the blog of experienced Dublin-based organic grower and tomatophile Nicky Kyle, who posts monthly articles giving tips on polytunnel growing, is a must-read. Kyle is a regular contributor to Gerry Kelly’s Late Lunch show on LMFM with her From Tunnel to Table slot. She gives listeners advice on how to turn all of that delicious homegrown produce into tasty, nutritious meals. You’ll find her at nickykylegardening.com or on Twitter under the handle @nickykylegarden.
Dermot Carey, the professional organic grower in charge of Burtown’s organically managed walled garden in Co Kildare, is another exceptionally seasoned polytunnel grower. He knows exactly how to maximise growing space while stretching out the undercover growing season through the canny use of garden fleece and heated propagating mats. You’ll find him on Instagram under the handle @dermot.carey or on Twitter under the handle @vegieguy.
Another is the English food grower and no-dig proponent Charles Dowding, whose excellent blog (charlesdowding.co.uk) is filled with useful polytunnel growing tips.
For flower growing under cover, check out the excellent blogs and Instagram feeds of Tony and Denise Gaetz at baremtnfarm.com, Erin Benzakein, at floretflowers.com and Rachel Siegfried at greenandgorgeousflowers.co.uk. Both Benzakein and Siegfried also have books on flower growing coming out this spring.