Ideas for warm loving veg in cool climates/short season


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I'm interested in peoples' strategy here.

I've tried starting early indoors and planting out, but often I've found that the seeds I sew direct much later do better.

I've noticed that even with my runner beans (which are fairly tolerant) it's the cold winds early in the season that do the damage. So possibly draping them in fleece of some kind of cloche system would work well.

For squashes my guess is the best bet would be to have them in tubs in the polytunnel until they start to flower then bring them out? But of course, that takes a lot of space. I know that winter squash tends not to do so well in tubs.

Interested in all ideas and experiences re lengthening the growing season. I'm in the West of Scotland - fairly mild climate due to being close to the coast, but our temps tend to hover around the high teens in mid summer and we don't have many months where we're above 10 degrees c at night.

One thing I'm toying with is the possibility of using solar to heat the soil (using wires). Our sunniest month is may - April is quite sunny too. So we could possibly transfer that solar energy to heat in the soil. We have solar powering the house so could use extension cables to take that power out to the polytunnel or even outside beds close to the house.
 
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NigelJ

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Rather than the expense of soil heating cables, why not just use black polythene or some other black material on the soil, will suppress weeds as well. You may find molluscs are more of a problem.
You can either plant through or remove and cover plants with fleece.
 
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Joined
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Ayrshire
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United Kingdom
Rather than the expense of soil heating cables, why not just use black polythene or some other black material on the soil, will suppress weeds as well. You may find molluscs are more of a problem.
You can either plant through or remove and cover plants with fleece.
My fear is that would be a breeding ground for slugs - slugs are a big problem here in the West of Scotland. But if it worked to warm the soil I could use nematodes to deal with the slugs.

But would it work as well as heat cables? We get plenty of sun in April/May so the polytunnel can hit 30 degrees C during the day. But at night it gets cold. And we could well have long spells of cold, sun free days.

You may well be right. Hopefully someone has had experience of both in similar climate to me.

p.s my family are from Devon - a little village called Belstone on Dartmoor. We spent lots of holidays on the Devon coast. Family traced back in Devon and cornwall for hundreds of years.
 

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