We have been doing a lot of work to get ready for the 2018 season. So far we have rebuilt both of our high tunnels. Both structures needed more reinforcement so they could handle increased snow load. Each high tunnel also needed most of the wood in their structures replaced. Once all of this was complete, we were able to install our new plastic.
If anyone reading this has installed plastic on a high tunnel or greenhouse, then you should know that wind is not your friend. For our first 32’x100′ high tunnel we were a little understaffed and the day’s high winds hindered our efforts, but with help from a great crew, we were able to get the plastic fastened down. Our smaller 32’x50′ high tunnel went up great as well, and we are very thankful to all that helped.
With the high tunnels surviving winter so far, we have already begun planting our new starts. We put a lot of preparation into making sure we would be able to start plants early.
Our new propagation room ensures that the soil for our new starts stay warm. We will also be able to control light, wind and temperature once the seeds have germinated.
Light is controlled with 3 special plant lights. One of the lights is a high powered plant light to increase the hours of day light, the other two are lower powered, but spread light out more evenly. With a inexpensive timer, we can add light onto both the begging and end of the daylight cycle.
Wind is controlled by a simple stand fan also on a timer. We also make sure to bring the starts outside for short periods to ensure they start to adapt to the wind and climate present.
Temperature is controlled by placing our agfabric in a tent fashion over the table and placing a small milk house heater beneath on low power. Maintaining a soil temperature to assist with germination is critical, and there are many different options for doing so. Our current option is a low budget, quick solution that can get anyone started.
Seeds took off promptly inside the warm protection of the propagation room. Some did better than others, but ultimately we had a good number of new starts to move outside once the weather was right.
As you can see our plants were babied. Even to the point that the bean plants were growing little beans inside.
In addition to our spoiled plants in the propagation room, we direct sewed many cold crops in February. Its amazing what a little protection will do to get plants going. A little straw and some agfabric provides extra protection. With a quality agfabric you can start plants outside just as early as you can in a greenhouse.
Once the snow cleared and the days grew just a little bit longer, our first blossoms started to show. Our direct sewn seeds took right off in our smaller green house and made us very happy right away.
Look everybody, we’re turnip farmers! Just kidding some of our first plants to come up were turnips, but also collards, kale, radish, and sugar snap peas.
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