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High Tunnel and other Highlights - May 2012

Posted 5/3/2012 5:00pm by Jacob Helling.

Earlier this spring we were fortunate to receive funding through an NRCS grant for a fancy new high tunnel.  After many hours of deliberation (so many options!), we finally settled on this model, a 25'x100'x14' Super Solo Gothic tunnel made by Haygrove that was shipped to us in pieces all the way from Poland (via the UK, where Haygrove has its headquarters).

After assembling the frame (thanks mostly to Steve's ingenuity), we waited for a calm day and, with the help of some friends (and not so much from the manual), successfully got the plastic on and secured with a system of ropes.

Here's Hal of Muddy Pumpkin Farms showing off his Ag Engineering skills...

After we had the tunnel up, it only took us a few days to fill it with young tomato plants anxious to stretch their roots.  Ahhh, we're loving the extra space.

Also new this year is this Amish-made plastic mulch layer we were able to find, which hooks up to our new and improved tractor (an older Massey Ferguson model - a.k.a. Steve's newfound best friend).  The black plastic mulch warms the soil (ideal for heat-loving crops) while suppressing weed competition.  Both tools make our lives immeasurably easier.
And finally an update on garlic.  We've gone through and done the first wave of weeding (a big task made even bigger by the recent deluge of rainy days) to cut down on competition while the garlic is still young.  The thick layer of bean mulch we lay over the cloves in the fall after planting makes it so the roots of the weeds don't go too deep and are relatively easy to pull out.  The mulch also serves to nourish the garlic throughout its life below ground.  We'll go through and weed another two or three times during the summer before harvest in July.
Luckily, we have some help in keeping the garlic safe from harm :)


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