In short, anything that will grow outside a polytunnel will grow inside a polytunnel but twice as fast!
A firm favourite is tomatoes and there are so many varieties to choose from. One that we particularly like is "Gardeners Delight", a tasty bite-sized tomato that we find ripens fairly easily as well.
Capsicums, related to the tomato plant, will grow in a similar environment in your polytunnel and can add a spark of colour to what can be a rather ordinary landscape. The smaller and hotter varieties of "chilli peppers" certainly aren't to everyone's taste but a prolific crop can be produced from just one or two plants. We have dried the chilli peppers in a warm oven and then stored them in sterilised jars. Just pop a couple of peppers into the blender, fry in hot oil and then throw into a curry pot for some authentic heat.
Salad crops can be grown all through the summer. Lettuce, radishes and spring onions sown at intervals so you have a continuous supply, ready to grab at a moment's notice. All these are also available as winter varieties and although they will be slower to grow, it's nice to still be able to have a fresh salad.
Cucumbers, courgettes, marrows and pumpkins are all quite similar to grow and require just a little more care. You'll hardly believe how much better your home-grown veg tastes compared to what you buy in the supermarket.
For the more adventurous why not try a few melons. Make sure you choose a variety that will grow in your part of the country and get them started early to make sure they ripen by the end of the season. The sweet smell of the melons in your polytunnel as they ripen is a truly delicious aroma.
In late January, we like to give our potted strawberry plants a head start and put them inside the polytunnel - there's plenty of room to spare at that time of year. By April or May you'll have the first of your strawberry harvest. Then you can move them to the open and make room for more tender crops.
So far we've focused on crop-producing plants but there's no reason why you can't grow flowering plants. You can bring on your flower plant seedlings under the protection of your polytunnel and by using crop bars
, your hanging baskets get a good start to ensure they look their best.
So you can see that the variety of plants you can grow in your polytunnel is vast. It's more a case of choosing what you want to grow and planning which plants to grow at what time of year. Good luck!