Stephen’s Tunnel

by Stephen Conlon

Community Polytunnel

My friend Greg and I started a project three years ago that we were passionate about. Our passion is gardening and Greg and I have a medium-size garden in a polytunnel. Our polytunnel is at the back of the house where I live, which is called Cara Cheshire Home in the Phoenix Park. The first task we did was to go and get the seeds that we decided on—potatoes, parsnips, cauliflower, carrots, onions, tomatoes, spinach, radishes, lettuce, grapes and peppers (which were very hot!). Greg and I also decided to get some flower seeds for a different section of the garden, which we got from Greg’s mother. We got the rest of the seeds from Robert, the gardener, and from B&Q, Aldi and Lidl.

After we had decided what to grow we had to prepare the garden by removing all the weeds and turning over the soil. Greg and I then decided to plant our seeds in different sections along each side of the tunnel. After we decided what should go in each section, Greg and I dug the soil and put in fertiliser, then sowed the seeds, about a half-inch below the surface in rows about a foot apart and then we watered them in. Some seedlings appeared after two weeks and others grew a lot slower. Spinach grows like a jungle and needed to be cut back all the time The spuds, lettuce and cherry tomatoes did very well this year, but parsnips, beetroot and carrots didn’t grow this year.

Greg and I harvest the spinach every week, even into winter. We harvest the spuds a few months after planting, a few every week so they are staggered. After everything was harvested, we brought all our vegetables to Chapelizod village, into Kelly’s Shop, when it was opened, and into O’Connell Bridge with Leon, the German volunteer. I then went to a very close friend of mine to sell some of my best tomatoes. My friend’s name is Colin and he works in Trinity College. So, one Friday my friend David and I went into Trinity College and met up with my friend Colin and showed him some of the best tomatoes. We had a fantastic time together and went home with our pockets full of money. It is a great feeling to do something you love (gardening) and get paid well for it. Greg and I look forward to working in the garden whether it’s weeding, sweeping or watering our garden and we can’t wait till we start the next batch of vegetables.


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