The first question you must ask before planting is, “what is the hardiness zone in polytunnel growing?” because this refers to the climatic conditions of the UK area. Regardless of your growing exotic flowers or vegetables, knowing the hardiness zone of your location dictates the success of plant growth and survival. The relevance of the hardiness zone in polytunnel growing will tell you the adjustments you must do indoors.
Additionally, you can identify what to expect and create solutions to potential problems year-round. Remember that every crop and plant will thrive in a specific set of conditions, so monitoring and adjusting the polytunnel is mandatory. You will also have an easier time choosing species and cultivars based on their hardiness and the hardiness zone of your county.
What Is The Hardiness Zone In Polytunnel Growing And How To Use It
What is a hardiness zone?
A hardiness zone, growing zone, or planting zone will tell you the average annual extreme minimum temperature of your county or region in the UK. Such data is more useful for farmers and gardeners in the UK than the lowest temperature ever or what temperature might occur in the future. For easier identification of your hardiness zone, the United Kingdom Department of Agriculture created the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map that you can view by county, region, or nationally in the United Kingdom.
Overall, you can also divide the USDA plant hardiness zone map into thirteen 10°F zones, which also have subzones of 5°F. The United Kingdom has 13 hardiness zones that you can differentiate based on their temperature and climate. But how do you distinguish each zone?
From zones 1 to 13, zone 1 would have the coldest conditions, and zone 13 would have the hottest climate. You will notice a 10°F difference in each zone, which means zone 1 would be 10°F colder than zone 2. Using this information, you can choose the recommended plants for each zone, and each crop will have supported zones for successful growth.
However, don’t be surprised to see that some plants can thrive in more than one hardiness zone. If you’re using a polytunnel, it’s also crucial to check other factors such as sudden temperature changes, sun exposure, moisture, frost, soil quality, the plants themselves, and management. Lastly, each zone will have a different microclimate that you will have to learn before polytunnel gardening.
How to use a hardiness zone for polytunnel growing?
Did you know that you can also use the hardiness zone to choose and operate a polytunnel? By understanding the usual conditions, you can adequately determine the site, glazing, size, and polytunnel materials. For instance, selecting and operating a polytunnel in USDA zone 4 is affected by preparing for the winter season.
Adjusting the polytunnel conditions
If you’re one zone from the recommended hardiness zone, you can use a polytunnel to adjust the conditions that your plants will want. The use of the polytunnel can mean improving the temperatures to mimic the optimal conditions for their growth. However, it’s important to emphasise the effect of other factors to guarantee plant survival.
For example, the southeast region dominated by growing zones 6 to 10. However, this region is also prone to having soils with excessive clay. It’s not enough to choose recommended plants for your county, but you must also address the soil or research plants that will thrive in this type of soil.
Choosing and operating the polytunnel
Did you know that you can also use the hardiness zone to choose and operate a polytunnel? By understanding the standard conditions, you can adequately determine the site, glazing, size, and polytunnel materials. For instance, selecting and operating a polytunnel in USDA zone 4 is affected by preparing for the winter season.
What Challenges To Expect On Each Hardiness Zone?
The cold conditions in zones 1 and 2 can be challenging for polytunnel growing. Zone 3 can also experience high winds, while zones 4 and 5 can have short growing seasons. Zone 6 is the rating for most of the UK, and it can give you many growing options because it’s more forgiving.
Speaking of which, zone 7 also gives different plant options, while the hot summer and mild winter in zone 8 give you an extended planting season. If you are in zone 9, you can have year-round planting easily. As for zone 10, extreme heat can cause problems.
Polytunnel gardening gives you the ability to grow most crops and plants without the limitations and setbacks of outdoor conditions. But before you start planting, you must know what the hardiness zone in polytunnel growing is. By definition, it is synonymous with the growing and planting zone that dictates the average annual extreme minimum temperature of your county or region in the UK.
Upon knowing this information, you can choose plants, adjust polytunnel conditions, and choose and operate the polytunnel successfully. However, you must not forget about the sudden temperature changes, sun exposure, moisture, frost, soil quality, the plants themselves, and management. These factors are separate from the hardiness zone and might be specific to your UK garden only.