Ground Preparation for Your Polytunnel
As you go about putting together your polytunnel there’s a few things you should do before you get started. Bear in mind that none of what I am about to tell you is essential but it will definitely make your life easier when it comes to preparing your ground and will ensure you get the best results from your harvest.
As the title suggests the first thing you’ll want to do is break up your ground. This will make both the construction of your polytunnel and the planting of your fruit and veg easier. To begin you will need to dig up your chosen plot. This can be done by hand although it will be very labour intensive, we recommend using either a mini-digger. This first step ensures the ground won’t be rock hard for your tunnel and plants. Once the ground is broken, you can spread topsoil, compost or farmyard manure and mix it into the ground using a rotavator. If you do not have access to this type of machinery you can continue by hand.
Once you have completed this process it is very important to roll or pack the ground again. This is especially important if you are expecting rain before the end of your project. Ideally you would use a roller, this will keep the ground from becoming water logged. In the past we have made use of the tracks on a mini-digger or the tires of a ride-on lawnmower. If you have this done and are not yet ready to assemble your polytunnel it is a good idea to put down ground cover over your plot. This will prevent weeds from growing, this can be removed when you are ready to begin.
Once your polytunnel is constructed we recommend that you rotavate or dig inside your tunnel once more to make it easier to sow plants and seeds. Another smart tip to lower the maintenance is to recover the ground with the same ground cover or a different mulch to keep the weeds down and when you are ready to plant, you can make x shaped cuts in the ground cover and your fruit and veg will grow up through the holes.
Another important thing to remember before you plant your tunnel is to carefully plan out your pathways. You should make sure that you have adequate room to walk between the beds and that you have good reach. If you choose to use raised beds you will need bigger paths to allow room for things like wheelbarrows. An easy way to mark your paths is pace up and down them a few times and the ground will become harder and will sink a little. If you want to make the paths stand out more you could place patio tiles on them which make a really nice feature however we would advise not to use anything permanent in case you decide to change your layout at a later stage.
Once you have all of this done it will make your gardening life much easier. You’ll have less hardship when planting and less time to spend weeding.