We have just survived one of the worst weeks of weather I can remember for a long time. Storm force winds had been forecast for Saturday 13 February and by the late afternoon it was gusting about 70 mph, so we were not too surprised when there was a electrical power surge which blew several circuits and left us in the cold and dark. On Sunday the power was restored and we managed to revive the central heating system. The wind got stronger and stronger, until it blew out the middle section of the big polytunnel!
On Monday the wind had dropped to gale force and the torrential rain had been replaced by squally showers. The damage report – one trashed poytunnel, a serious list on the big fruit cage, and the loss of a couple of inches of soil from the vegetable beds. The metal framework of the polytunnel, although galvanised steel, had been showing serious signs of corrosion for sometime. We had hoped that it would last a little longer, but we had not expected such a catastrophic structural failure, even with the wind gusting upto 95 mph.
With the help of a friend we managed to make the structure safe and removed the whole centre section. Unfortunately, the weather has prevented us from starting to take down the remaining structure, but the two ends appear stable, even in 70 mph winds.
So what next? Last week’s plan is in the bin or at least subject to a major reappraisal, as the priority is to dismantle what remains of the polytunnel and see if we can repair the fruitcage. This is likely to be a slow process as the weather forecast for the remains of February appears to be a continuous succession of southerly gales, and until we are released from lockdown we can’t arrange for deliveries of hardcore or gravel. Good thing we didn’t sell the concrete mixer!
If you are going to live on the exposed west coast of a Scottish island on the edge of the North Atlantic with nothing between you and North America, you have to have a degree of stoicism when your garden gets trashed by the weather. So you clear up the mess, try to learn from the experience and continue gardening. To be horribly pragmatic, I also have the new challenge of what to do with an area of 19 x 17m! I’m open to suggestions and offers of serious sponsorship from anyone who would like to build a hurricane, corrosion proof covered garden.
To be continued when the weather improves……..