Monday, February 20, 2012

What A Brand New Hoophouse Can Do

Even though winter is far from over in the Western U.P. (At least that would be true of late February most years. Did winter even start this year?) March brings the beginning of the physical side of farming for us.

We'll start the first seeds of 2012 very soon, which means cold wet fingers, midnight fire tending, and happy fussing over tender tomato babies.

This March - as soon as the weather allows - we will also be constructing our brand new 22 by 96 foot hoophouse.

When we're done it will look something like this (plus a covering of greenhouse plastic of course):

I have no idea who this hoophouse belongs to.
Thank you Rodale Institute for the image. 
Also, because it is intended to compliment, rather than replace, our existing wonky hoophouse (which could stand replacement one of these years) it will DOUBLE the amount of season extended growing space we have to play with.

Which means that those first (450 - just a tiny drop in the bucket!) seeds we're planning to start will consist of three kinds of eggplants, two kinds of peppers, tomatillos, ground cherries, and five different types of long season tomatoes. The tomatoes include two 100+ year old heirlooms, the world's greatest bite sized paste tomato, orange banana tomatos (three fruits in one!), and a gorgeous red and orange striped sauce tomato bred by this guy

Come early May we'll plant all those starts in the new hoophouse where they will have space to spread out and fruit to their hearts' content without running into stuff like this:

Greens flourishing in last year's hoophouse planting of Early Wonder Tall Tops.
Planted so our members could get the earliest beet crop possible :)
That's because this year the entire wonky hoophouse will be dedicated to early season crops. Mid-March you will find us planting chard, kale, beets, cilantro, and even fennel seed directly into the protected beds of our early spring hoophouse. Carrots, turnips, radishes, spinach, cress, kohlrabi and more will follow shortly. Hooray for variety in the early season!


  1. How fun to find you here, Andrea! And good luck with your hoophouse!

    1. Thank you! Your blog is great - thank you for sharing it with me :)

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