Sunday, 30 January 2011

Spring cleaning

I'd been hoping to spend more time weeding my raised beds this weekend....but the mild weather has disappeared and it is back to frost and snow showers. So I thought I'd get the polytunnel sorted out instead.

This is a job I normally do before now - but it was just too cold over the Christmas holidays. And it's a big job so you've got to be in the mood for it. Today I was. I re-watched Rebecca Hoskins film A farm for a future again yesterday. This is the most inspiring film I think I have ever seen - you can watch it here -

(just copy and paste the link)

Apart from addressing the huge issues of climate change and peak oil - it really speaks to me with it's emphasis on permaculture and small scale growing. It suggests that on a small scale working with hand tools the grower is able to pay attention and to work with nature. This is exactly what I aim to do. Do watch it if you haven't seen it yet.

Anyway getting back to today's job. The spring clean has four stages...

1. Thoroughly wash the plastic to let in as much lights as possible. I don't wash the roof as the winter snow usually cleans this...but still with a 30 x 20 foot tunnel that is quite a bit of cleaning and rinsing! While doing this you are paying attention to the covering in a way you don't normally and spot any areas needing attention.

2. Repair tears with specialist tape. We bought our tunnel from a firm called Citadel...and the cover has lasted 10 years so far. I'm keen to keep it going for as long as possible.

3. Cut back brambles/tree seedlings/grass etc that grows up along the outside of the tunnel - again lets in more light and helps protect the cover from tears.

4. Re-paint the wood with a dark coloured wood preserver - to make it last longer and tidy it up.

This morning I got the plastic cleaned. During the week I'll buy the wood preserver, and over the next dry weekend I'll get the rest of the jobs done.

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