I have planted the first of the tomatoes into the ground as they are flowering away and I would really like an early crop. I have made a tunnel within a tunnel but first I had to cut and peal back the black plastic which was on the ground and put 3 wheelbarrow loads of manure and compost onto the ground. It is 3 different shades as I took each load from a different pile!
Next I bent some plastic pipes to make the arches. I used pretty thick ones because I might have to load it up with blankets if it gets really cold.
I started to tie the strings to the ceiling like I normally do and then realised (dummy me) that I could not get the plastic cover over the hoop with all those strings there!
So I tied them to the canes which are tied onto the plastic ribs. I have left the strings long so I should just be able to tie them back up to the ceiling when it is warm enough. The bottoms of the strings have a loop in them and they are under the root ball and eventually the roots will bind them into the ground making them really strong. It works really well and I do my cucumbers and melons like this also.
I planted 26 of my best plants, variety Stupice, along the back. I will not be able to put a solid 3rd row in as I will not be able to get to the back row! I will plant the final row with alternate gaps so I can still move in there and it may be better for the air flow.
Finally the plastic goes over. The back edge is weighted down with bricks so I can just pull it over and weigh it down on the front edge with bits of wood. If it gets really cold I can put a heater in there and cover it with fleece and bubble wrap. This is exactly what I did last night as it got to -1.9 and it remained toasty in there. In fact, it was too toasty! A thermostat would be an advantage! Just about 150 more tomato plants to plant!!!