High Tunnel Experiments

It kind of feels like this whole season with the high tunnel has been an experiment.  Most of them have been scary, but most of them have also worked.  Here is the latest experiment:

Removing the plastic.

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Is this normally done?  We have no idea.  Are other people in our area doing it?  Don’t know.  If anyone DOES know, we could sure use some input.

But in any case, we decided this was necessary for three reasons:

#1 The plastic makes it hotter.  That’s kind of the point.  But with summers like we have had the past two years, we certainly won’t need it any hotter than that.  In fact, there have already been days, with as mild as it has been outside, it is almost too warm in the high tunnel.  Too warm means tomatoes won’t set, and the ones that have set won’t ripen.

#2  Salt Build up.  In our research, we have learned that, over time, salt build up in high tunnels can be a problem.  We recognize that this could be an extra big problem for us, as our well-water is extra high in salt content.  By removing the plastic and exposing the plants to a little rain water, it will help keep the salt build-up to a minimum.

We hope.

#3  Kansas Storms.  Hail, strong winds, you name it, we’ve got it.  We would like to keep our plastic in tact for as long as possible, thank you.  And keeping it protected from Kansas thunderstorms is the best way we can do that.

Like I said, it is all an experiment.  Hopefully it was the right decision to remove the plastic.

Time will tell.

Harvest Coming Soon!

It’s exciting to walk around and see how much is growing.  Soon we will have:

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Cucumbers (okay, this is a bad picture … there really is a cucumber in there, just look in the shadows!)3.25.13 004

Green beans (behind the cucumbers!)3.25.13 007

This tomato happens to be a Brandywine – the KING of heirloom tomatoes!3.25.13 008

Cherokee Purple tomatoes … even BETTER than Brandywines (I know, who thought THAT was possible?!)3.25.13 009

Broccoli3.25.13 011

Fresh cut lavender.  Hopefully we will have enough of a harvest this week to make it to market on Saturday.

Finally!!

I was beginning to worry that maybe our tomato plants were going to be purely decorative this year.  And then low and behold …

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Green tomatoes!  It will be late June before we have any ripe tomatoes, but at least they are on their way!DSC_0075In the meantime, we are adding cages on top of cages for the mammoth plants we have in the high tunnel.

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Other vegetable plants that are coming along nicely:  Green beans

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Cucumbers

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Potatoes

DSC_0084Squash!  I would just cry tears of joy if we actually harvested squash this year.  Between the heat and bugs the past few years, we have had very little to show.  I know it is still to early to count our eggs … er squash …. but I’m optimistic we will have a harvest!