Tag Archives: greenhouse

Close enough

Somehow the propagation-tunnel germinator has worked out more-or-less how I envisioned it, despite my previous lamentations.  It’s even plumb(y) and square(ish).  But, no, I won’t be quitting my day job soon.

I dumped several pails of water in the bed today to check for leaks in the polyethylene.  None, at least not up to the 1.25″ mark.  The 24 trays I planned to get in it actually fit with some wiggle room to spare.

In my opinion it’s a bit early to get the plants I want to start early going already.  But maybe in a week or two.  The question outstanding is whether the small electric heater in the cavity below the bed will provide enough heat to do much good.  I suspect it will for the cold-tolerant crops like greens and peas.

But I have no intention of starting things like tomatoes yet.  Even if they got enough  light (which is very doubtful on Rainbow) and grew normally, I’d have to pot them up to gallon+ sized pots while waiting for the overnight low temperatures of their final home to rise to a safe level.   I’m planning to set out a portion of the tomatoes by mid-April.  Subtracting 6 weeks for the plant start gives me an early March seeding date.  Mind you, I might get a few tomatoes going earlier for our plant start customers who have warm places to put tomatoes.

The only thing remaining for the germinator is a double ply of spun bond fabric (Reemay) which I will use to cover the trays at night.

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Windows 2012

Mt Baker

This fall/winter has been unseasonably warm and dry.  Despite that, I’ve had to deepen drainage around the garlic and may also take a shovel to one end of the big tunnel’s ditches.  I got the tractor/tiller stuck at the south end while I was incorporating some of the leaves I had spread on top.  The water level seems to be less than a foot from the top.

My big concern was the new field at Dan’s which is at the bottom of the valley, right next to the canal that carries the excess away to Bader Beach on the west side of the island.  The advantage of this quarter acre of land is that it stays moist all summer, so hopefully I won’t need to irrigate.  The disadvantage is that, even in this relatively dry winter, the field got half submerged when we did get heavy rain for a few days.

Walking on this worked up soil meant sinking in almost to mid-calf.  Not only is that bad for the soil but it pretty much precludes the construction of anything on top of it including high tunnels.

While stewing about how busy I would be in mid-spring when things might dry out sufficiently to begin building while simultaneously needing to prepare soil and plant tomatoes (etc), I completely forgot about cold weather (which has also been rare this season).

But it’s here now.  While staging building materials on Friday near the work zone, I took an expeditionary walk atop the soil and, to my surprise, did not sink in.  The soil was just barely frozen.  I could actually drive the unloaded tractor/dumpcart over it.

This means that I now have a window of opportunity to get some work done albeit in more uncomfortable weather.  The forecast for this week has freezing lows and, given that the temps at 220m average a couple of degrees colder than the weather station, my bigger problem might be the extra work of getting through a few inches of frozen ground or dealing with snow.  So far there’s been only a light dusting.

But I’ll take it.  All other projects are now on hold.