Friday, April 15, 2011
My good friend Lisa has been living abroad in Ireland for the past several years, where she's running the successful fledgling publishing company, Doire Press, with her partner John. Now, Lisa and I share no gardening history, and I've never known her to have a garden....until she moved to Ireland.
We met over 10 years ago in a literature class devoted to the fascinating writing & illustrations of William Blake. (If you love William Blake and have never seen Jim Jarmusch's Dead Man, you should. My advance apologies for two graphic scenes of violence. I'm not interested in violence, but will endure a lot for Blake. Besides, it stars Johnny Depp before he became a gay pirate...)
So Lisa is gardening in the stony seaside of Ireland near Galway. She's been digging up stones, growing potatoes and greens, and this year she wrote to tell me she's thinking of adding a polytunnel to her space. So what is a polytunnel? I'd never heard it before. After looking in all my usual places, I found it's essentially what Yanks call a "hoop house" or "door garden". My Dad has a substantial one that we call "the greenhouse".
The benefits of it are getting an early start on your garden, and extending it later into the fall/winter, even allowing a fully year-round cycle in the temperate Pacific northwest. The protective plastic cover provides a microclimate that offers young plants an earlier (and in winter, a later) warmth. I don't have one! But this morning as I examined the cautious progress of my pea starts in this late-warming Spring, I had a desire to make one.
The best part of this clip is not that it shows you how to construct a polytunnel, because it doesn't do that in detail. The best part is that it shows you how to clean one, to keep the plastic cover in good shape for years of extended gardening.
You can visit Lisa and her partner John at the following web address. While you're there, ask about the progress of their polytunnel. http://www.doirepress.com/site/HOME.html
"The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity... and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself."