Monday, April 27, 2009

Study in Progress

At first I thought this funny looking container might be a paper towel dispenser or light box. I even entertained notions of some fancy bat house (yes, I know; that would make no sense.) Turns out, it's holding a high-tech digital thermometer. There's an identical unit outside in the gardens.

The thermometers are capturing the temps inside and outside the high tunnel, taking readings several times a day. Later, Bill will connect the thermometers to a computer graphing program so we can see exactly how much weather protection our little "greenhouse" is affording us.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Tomato, Tomahto / Potato, Potahto

So we've called it. Time of death for our sun-scalded row...round about high noon on April 4th. Nearly 20 days later we can safely say most of the greens are not recovering. I think the peas will make it. A few arugula and a few radish have pulled through, but the rest are done and gone. We'll convert the rest of the bed to beans in early May.

Meanwhile, Bill went ahead and put a few San Marzano tomatoes last week along with a few Russian fingerling potatoes.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Free Hoop House Webinar

Thinking about building a hoop house to extend growing season? Attend this free webinar on May 7, 12-1 central time.

Topics will include the uses and benefits of hoop houses, including increases in crop quality and yields; different types of hoop houses; construction, materials and cost estimates; management of crops, soil fertility, pests and weeds; and the economics and marketing of crops.

Remember to register ahead of time.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Hoop Houses

Hoop house - just another word for high tunnel.

Here are some low-cost, low-tech hoop houses I've seen out in the blogosphere. Neither looks nearly as effective as what we've got going on here at the Extension, but we'll have to follow them and see how they do.
Let me know if you find any others.

Sun Scald

I was a little concerned about the heat under the plastic row covers on Saturday afternoon, but since we were expecting snow again on Sunday, I wasn't sure I should remove it. Maybe if I had been dedicated enough to drive back that evening to put it back on, things would have been okay. As it was, the plants got roasted.

Bill arrived on Sunday afternoon and took some temperature readings. Here's a recap:

  • The raised bed (outside the high tunnel ) had a soil temp of 46.
  • Inside the high tunnel, the bed with floating row cover had a soil temp of 57.
  • The bed with the plastic had a soil temp of 63.

Most of the plants under the plastic are suffering from sun scald. So we're done with the plastic now until fall. We’ll see if the plants pull through. We now know that the plastic will need to be replaced with floating row cover in March.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Cold, Wet, & Cranky

I'm looking for the one manufacturer on the planet that can make decent hose connects. This set up looked pretty solid until one of the plastic screw-bands cracked and the hose popped out, spraying me with water.

Of course, then there is the loose connector at the main faucet. I get a face wash every time I turn that one on. So all in all, I'm soaked, and I'm back to using plastic watering cans to water the garden.

Did I mention it rained ALL DAY yesterday. But of course, none of that precious moisture actually falls inside the high tunnel. Oh, yes, and let me also tell you it was SNOWING this morning. That was a nice bonus.