If you’re in the southeast area of the UK, how to keep a small polytunnel cool is your primary concern; this can be done through ventilation, shading, damping, and retaining soil moisture. These are, indeed, the stress-free ways to keep the temperature ideal for your crops when it is hot and steamy.
Plants require a stable environment to grow and be productive. Unlike in the open field, the polytunnel one can propel towards more controlled and steady surroundings for plants to develop.
To know how to keep a polytunnel cool, let’s first understand the temperature in the southeast UK.
Understanding Temperature Levels In The southeast UK
The first focus of control to maintain a healthy growing crop in a polytunnel is the temperature. Ideally, the temperature inside must be between 80 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
Too much heat can cause problems for polytunnel growers in the UK. Some plants are heat-resistant such as tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. However, some plants will not germinate if the temperature is not ideal for them.
Carrots, lettuce, broccoli, and other heat-sensitive plants require low temperatures for a successful harvest. Therefore, it is essential to learn how to keep the heat evenly throughout the year.
In the southeast UK area, the temperature averages between 26 to 88 degrees Fahrenheit over the year; and this is too hot for most polytunnel crops during the summer season. But there are methods to keep your polytunnel cool, thereby preserving the well-growing crops.
Read along, and we will give you a straightforward guide in keeping the temperature of your polytunnel in control under the summer heat.
How To Keep A Polytunnel Cool in The Southeast UK
In this article, we listed the different ways you can control the temperature of your polytunnel when it’s getting too hot, especially if you’re living in the southeast UK area. How to keep a small polytunnel cool is straightforward.
Read on and find out for yourself!
#1 Ensure proper ventilation
One of the best ways to minimise the heat in your polytunnel is by having a good airflow. One can achieve good airflow with the help of the roof vents, side vents, and door. These vents can create the necessary ventilation to cool down overheated plants.
Continuously monitor the temperature inside your polytunnel. Plants can be damaged if the temperature rises to 81 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, a maximum-minimum thermometer comes in handy in this kind of situation.
During sunny days, start up ventilation by opening all doors and vents as early as you can. You can opt to fit in automatic vent openers to lessen the effort. But sometimes, automation response is slow, so you head start the cooling process by opening the door.
As much as possible, keep them open during warm nights as well. You can use pegging netting to prevent cats, mice, and rodents from entering, but make sure the netting allows pollinators through.
#2 Create appropriate shading
The second method to keep the polytunnel cool is by creating shade. But this technique must be used since plants depend on good light levels to develop at their full potential.
Shading the plants by painting the polytunnel is a quick and affordable way to filter out sunlight strength. If the summer heat increases, you can add up layers. Use paints that one can wash off by water and brushing.
Aside from paint, you can also use external or internal blinds as an alternative. The external blinds are most effective since they can filter the sunlight before it passes through. If you have extra cash, you can fit an internal blind. Install the blinds away from the vents because it could hinder adequate airflow.
You can also use mesh or shade netting to minimise the entry of light. It is a cheaper alternative to blinds and easy to install. The net can double as wildlife protection when the vents are open.
#3 Damping down
When the weather gets scorching, another trick to use is by damping down the polytunnel. Splashing water on the hard surfaces, paths, and staging raises the humidity. The moisture level of the air increases when water evaporates, helping the plants cope with the heat and making it less favourable for pests to thrive.
Please do this as often as possible because it is crucial when it’s steaming hot. If it is unlikely to damp the polytunnel all day, aim for at least twice a day. Wet the surfaces once in the morning and the evening.
#4 Prevent water stress
Dry soil is terrible for any plant. Keeping enough moisture at the root level produces healthier crops than those without. Plants are capable of protecting themselves from drying through transpiration. Hindering this ability can result in overheating and wilting. Therefore, sustaining it with water is significant.
Always look for the telltale signs of heat stress among plants. If it shows wilting, scorched leaves, and dry young foliage, then it’s time to moisturise the soil. Watering the plants can prevent these signs from showing.
However, you cannot standby and look out for drying soil all day. There are various ways to keep the moisture of the soil at a suitable level. You can set up a self-watering plant or opt for a more sustainable approach using hydroponics.
Hydroponics involves a more expensive start-up but comes with great value.
Do not let the scorching heat stop you from being a productive polytunnel grower. If you maximise the techniques presented in this article, you are guaranteed a bountiful harvest every season. So if you’re in the southeast UK area, how to keep a small polytunnel cool should not be hard for you.