Sunday, May 18, 2014

I Know I am Behind

May 13, 2014 and eight inches of snow

My Canadian social media friend, Ien, says you are always behind in gardening. But this year seems to be a lot worse. Maybe it is because of my eye surgery and then teeth extraction or maybe I just had a foggy mind and didn't begin my grand plans to convert the polytunnel experiment to a real commitment to greenhouse gardening on the cheap. Or maybe it was the May full of late, late, late snows.

Inner tunnel enlarged

I did get the collapsing inner tunnel restructured and taller over my raised beds and even got one bed refreshed and seeded, but that just made it obvious how inadequate the high tunnel was. It would still work as a prop for more plastic to raise bed temps but would make it very difficult to work without removing the upper plastic.

Beginning of new bow greenhouse

I had saved a link to how to make a greenhouse for $50. The man lies. What you see is $60 and not nearly done. I am planning to use recycled materials and some lingering lumber from out by the utility shed. I had already purchased the plastic at an ACE hardware sale. Given the winds in my area some reinforcing is scheduled before topping the bow with the plastic.

But the weather at last turned better (except for the winds) and I braved the planting of some Brussels sprouts in in the middle raised bed. It was for plants such as these I raised the inner bow. The old inner tunnel was really only a cold frame for seeds and baby plants. Come fall and early freezes it only laid cold plastic directly on top of even the Swiss Chard. That should not now be the case.

baby Brussels Sprouts

And the higher and bigger outer bow will give me four more feet for raised beds and/or containers. Given how far behind I am already I may go mostly with the five gallon pail gardening I found on the internet. I think it will be perfect for tomatoes and potatoes and am considering even squash.

Herb bed with asparagus 
I am using the bed by the studio (which I can cover with plastic nights) for perennial herbs and asparagus. I was going to put the latter down by the stream but someone reminded me of deer and elk, so I have kept them close to home. This bed is very protected from the winds and gets a lot of moisture because of the shelf above for potted plants like geraniums. The drip irrigation always runs over to the bed below.

I say I am behind and this is because since using the polytunnel system I have been able to plant by the 1st of May. But before that I was risking it all planting anything but seeds before the 1st of June.  I am nursing some pepper plants and tomatoes in the studio for the moment. Do not plan to put them out until the new high tunnel is complete. I do not see this cheap greenhouse making winter gardening possible. It will just extend my season into the fall.

I left the plastic on the old high tunnel last winter just to see if it weathered through. It did not. The storms, which were few, shredded the plastic. But I do not know that I am a winter gardener anyway.  So plan to roll up the plastic on the high bow when winter seriously arrives and store it to be re-installed early spring. Maybe next summer I will not be so behind.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I write for me but I care what my readers think. Please be polite and no scamming.