Polytunnel Vision

News article

Polytunnel Vision
Walk down the lane through Larchfield community, past the sheep and the chickens, and in five minutes or so you’ll come to the garden, with its greenhouses and well-tended raised beds. 

Just beyond, you’ll see the Bat Cave, the Mansion and the Channel Tunnel – the community’s three polytunnels.

Vivid colour
 ‘We came up with the names so that we don’t get them muddled up’, explains Paul. ‘So when we go to do something, we all know where we’re going.’

Step closer and you’ll see each polytunnel is signposted with a bright, colourful plan of where everything’s growing – from the French beans to the Gardeners’ Delight tomatoes.

Seasonal fun

The team makes the signs during the cold, dark winter days – when it’s good to be indoors, sitting around the table in the tea shed, warmed by the log stove.

‘We plan what is going to be in the polytunnels and colour it in’, Jeremy says. It’s fun deciding what will go where and then creating the signs by hand, and it all needs doing afresh each year, as plants get moved to different locations. ‘It’s better for them to be moved around’, says Sarah, the garden supervisor.

A careful eye

 ‘People get so much out of being part of the garden team’, Sarah continues. ‘It’s social – making friends and getting to see each other – and also getting exercise and fresh air. And people can see the results of their efforts, growing and then harvesting.’

The polytunnels are important as they allow Paul, Jeremy and others to be involved in growing fresh, tasty organic produce all year round. At this time of year, Jeremy likes watering the plants and keeping an eye on everything: ‘Watering helps the tomatoes to grow. And the cucumbers and courgettes as well.’