This past weekend, May 24th weekend, marks the safe planting date – the risk of frost, is in theory at least, has passed.
Now, we’ve had some really warm weather already, in the mid and upper 20c’s, but sure enough just last week there was a frost warning.
Hoop house one – the red are the already thinned several times R148 Amaranth for greens and grain. Trays of sweet sorghum and paddy rice at the far end.
So, as most folks here are just putting in their gardens where am I?
Well, the two medium hoophouses are going great, the tomatoes and tomatillos need to be staked and are growing wonderfully, the peppers and eggplants are happily pushing forth. The hardier stock, while not needing the higher temperatures has shown its appreciation by rewarding us with a salad again last night. Lettuce, radishes, and amaranth leaves. Lovely!
In my other beds that are uncovered the results are significantly less spectacular. There the tomatoes, peppers and herbs have established themselves nicely and started to grow, but the growth pales in comparison to those in the hoophouses, and we are still a couple of weeks away from adding rappini and sugar snap peas to the salads – if they manage to travel that far – and at least at the start of the season the best I can expect is that they will be detached from the plant before being gobbled down with relish. I will truly know that our fresh fetish is at least partially satiated or overwhelmed when more item start to appear in the salad bowls but that won’t be for a while.
So for the time and energy invested I am definitely a fan of the medium hoop houses thus far.
Hoop House Two – Tomatoes and peppers and eggplant and greens and more – oh my!
Now, I have learned a few things about the construction of the hoop houses. The biggest lesson is that the opening and closing has been pretty tough on the frames. The corners really need to be reinforced with 4×4 blocks on the inside and steel brackets on the outside. I also thought I could get away with not screwing in the female side of the conduit. Sure they can’t move up, but they will move down! The last significant item for me to figure out is if I should switch from plastic to metal conduit straps as several of the plastic ones have broken- now that may be because the conduit slipped down and was pushed out as I opened the frame- which should be addressed by fixing the conduit in place on both ends – so I’ll take a wait and see attitude for now.
Right now I am planning on rolling up the plastic towards the middle to end of June depending upon the weather and the growth of the plants under cover. Then it will probably be unrolled in mid-September to support the fall crops and eek out a few more months from the warm weather commodities.