Dalserf Polytunnel Offers More Exotic Produce than Local Supermarket!
Dalserf Garden Club’s new polytunnel produced its first bumper crop with a wider choice than the supermarket!
The idea to build a polytunnel on the central village green was hatched by locals in July 2013. Through help from the local Community Council (now unfortunately disbanded), funding from the South Lanarkshire LEADER Programme Developing Local Communities Fund and support from the landowners Henderson Hamiltons, the ideas became a reality.
The majority of the 17 green fingered enthusiasts hadn’t used a polytunnel before and were unsure of what the Mediterranean-like climate would produce. They decided to experiment with a variety of plug plants, taking turns to weed and water which needed done twice daily in the height of summer. They grew melons, butternut squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and even pak choi which aren’t found in the local supermarket, forcing a lot of the group to be more adventurous in the kitchen!
With a year’s experience of growing and careful monitoring behind them, the club are planning for 2015. They will grow from seeds as opposed to plugs which requires more skill but is more economical. They will also plant the seeds in stages so that crops can be harvested at different times, helping to reduce the little waste that there was this year.
A further grant from the Renewable Energy Fund in October 2014 has meant that further developments can be made on site. They have just completed work on a path allowing for disabled access, put a bench under one of the beautiful trees at the edge of the green and create a herb garden also on the green- the climate inside the polytunnel proved a bit much for some of the more hardy herbs this year!
But it’s not just the plants that have been bearing fruit through this project. The group have been enjoying a heightened sense of community through the social aspect of the venture.