So....what hath the high tunnel done for us lately?
It's a recurring theme this year. The field green beans didn't like the start to the season. So, we planted more in the high tunnel. It's only two 60 foot double rows. But - 327 pounds of green beans later...
All we can say is that this was a really positive result for a crop that both of us love to eat. We've known since our first try with beans in 2010 that this was a pretty good use. But, I'm not sure we realized it could do this much for us.
Some people call them 'salad-size' tomatoes. But, we like to think of them as the reward for the person who picks up the share each week. We fully expect that many of these never make it home to the kitchen counter! These are a great size for us because they are big enough to make picking reasonable. But, they are small enough for people to snack on them.
Yet another disaster had the sting taken from it because we had this building to work a solution. The field peppers had their problems, but the peppers in the high tunnel have done just fine. They love the desert-like conditions. Perhaps the thing that has impressed us the most is the beautiful fruit just ripening on our Marconi Reds. It takes a perfect season in the field to get a good crop of these. But, they taste so good, we keep growing them. Sadly, we only have 2 plants in the high tunnel of these - but they represent the overall success peppers have had there.
|a Marconi Red plant|
We keep experimenting to see what varieties think the high tunnel is nice. We tried Sakata Sweet because is supposed to climb well. It did. But, we weren't terribly pleased with the fruit. There was so little of the flesh to eat on these that we'll probably pass next year. On the other hand, Minnesota Midget showed it could climb well enough and produce well enough for us to consider it next year. We only planted 10 feet of melons and still managed to get a decent number of fruit (45).
Well, ok, not everything has to be about a crop failing elsewhere and the high tunnel stepping in and filling in. In this case, the high tunnel cucumbers simply piled on. But, it was still good to learn what works for this crop. Twenty row feet of Cool Breeze netted 383 fruit. Ok, that'll work.
Four Pintung Long plants. Forty fruit. Ok, then. It's a bit under our expectation for this variety for a season (typically we want about 14). But, these went in late, so we forgive them.
We also planted some basil, rosemary, french tarragon, thyme and some carrots during the summer session in the high tunnel. It's amazing how much we can do in there. And, we very much believe a diverse crop base in the building will keep things healthier.
I've been focusing on the Summer crops, but do you remember what we were able to do with Spring crops? Over 350 heads of lettuce, 69 heads of pok choi, over 125 kohlrabi, over 200 bunches of kale and over 100 bunches of chard. That doesn't even include a mention of the yummy spinach.