Monday 5 February 2018
Poly Tunnel Part 4
Poly Tunnel Maintenance and Pest Control,
Your poly tunnel is an investment so you want to keep it in tip top growing condition, winter is a good time for overall cleaning, poly tunnels will get a build up of algae inside and out and the algae will reduce light levels so you need to clean it off, I use a sponge a soft hand brush and a car washing brush that you fix a hose to,
along with and algae cleaner,
its a messy job but a job that needs doing,get into all the corners and folds a lot of pests will overwinter in corners as well so wash them out, getting to apex as well, a tip I was given for cleaning the apex on the outside, A two person job get two old sheets or cut open an old duvet cover long wise wet it in your bucket of cleaner throw one end over the tunnel each take an end and using a sawing motion clean the top of the tunnel. Cleaning gives you an opportunity to see were any repairs might be needed, any holes you come across fix with repair tape dont leave them if the wind catches them your cover will rip, replace any hot spot tape that has come away from the frame, clear out rubbish plant debris these only become hiding places for pests, ventilation in winter is just as important, on fine days get the doors open.
Growing organically is personal choice its a way of growing food I have always done, In each of the poly tunnels I have barrels of carnivorous plants and I am adding to my collection,
because I am a plant addict. I love the way they will eat there way through pests, I do some companion planting to encourage beneficial insects and I use yellow stickies,
keeping red spider mite down is done by raising humidity or Neem oil based spray, blight on tomatoes I grow heritage variety's and the first sign of blight I take off any infected leaves and spray with
Bio Friend plant defense,
I have sometimes had scale insects issues on the citrus trees I wash the leaves down and spray with 2 in 1 organic pest control
or neem oil. Slugs I will snip in half with scissors if I see them also use slug traps, I leave spiders alone and flowers encourage lady birds lace wings bees, if I have to do any spraying I make sure I do it in the evening. Mice and rats I use traps not had any living in the poly tunnel but had some causing damage having a feast when passing through, The only chemical I use
is Provado vine weevil killer and it is used on any pot of plants that are coming in to be over wintered in the poly tunnel, they are treated before coming in. I have tried Nematodes I find it a very expensive way of controlling pests with only some success, copper tape around pots or the base of staging legs help to deter slugs, Empty pots, trays and labels are washed, tools are cleaned over winter ready to go again.