High Tunnel-Raising, 14 May 2012
A year ago last week
a group of volunteers
and Steve Upson from the Noble Foundation
helped us raise the ribs on the high tunnel—
the current name
for an unheated greenhouse.
We covered the top with shade cloth
for the summer
and Ann began to garden inside.
In the fall,
we replaced the shade cloth with plastic,
and she gardened all winter,
growing lots of greens, beets,
Winter’s Red Leaf Lettuce
Ann began planting the summer garden.
Summer gardens the last few years
where it’s been history-making hot
for a history-making long time
have not produced;
or have died in mid-summer.
The experiment with the high tunnel
is to allow earlier planting in the spring,
so the plants can fruit before the hot days;
and provide shade from the photosynthesis-stopping
heat and sun.
Too, our winters are milder
than they used to be,
so plants can be grown in the protection
of the high tunnel
(and another layer of cloth laid on the plants
those days when the temperature dips.)
Plants thrived throughout the winter
and we were thrilled
(as were the chickens, rabbits and guineas
who helped us eat the greens.)
But we have been shocked silly
at what’s happened this spring:
there are monster plants
in the high tunnel.
We have never experienced
such beautiful plants in the garden.
Ann planted early,
and installed a gravity-fed system of watering
the walls of the greenhouse
(which she can lower on warmer days)
have protected young plants
from relentless, stiff spring winds.
It is amazing
what wind protection,
plenty of rain water
and a temperate climate
(as well as composted soil)
will do for the garden!
Visits to the greenhouse these days
include a lot of standing around
Chard, with Flowering Cilantro behind
Tomato Plants, Blossoming
Pepper Plants and Eggplant Plants
(and water tape)
Basil and Parsleys
There is still one more step:
harvesting. Will those gorgeous
tomato, potato, pepper, eggplant plants
Tomato, potato, cilantro plants
are all blooming. We’re thinking…