Our 14'X40' propogation tunnel was full of plant starts weeks ago so we've been off-loading a number of them to the big tunnel. Well, that one's nearly full now, too. I don't know how many tomato plants we have right now. There are the ones to sell at the farm stand, the ones to plant out in the new tunnels at Dan's place and the ones to plant out in the big tunnel they're currently in - when there's room. There are so many tomatoes that we've had to create sections for each application plus alphabetize the 30+ varieties we have for sale on the stand. Of course, we also have climbing and bush peas and beans and salad greens growing in the ground plus some strawberries growing in pails. Oh yes, I've got a dozen or so zucchini plants in 3 gallon pots that have started to bud. Laura's bike and market cart are also being garaged in this tunnel. Do I need to build more tunnels this winter?
We were supposed to mostly abandon a portion of the Rainbow land this year because of how difficult it was to grow on it (stony, sloped, shady, needs too much water). But a separate issue conspired to change this plan.
We wanted to order a single 1000-count box of strawberry crowns; a bunch for plant starts to sell and a bunch for planting into home-spun strawberry towers. Sadly, I had to share a box 50/50 with the coordinator of the order and I didn’t think that was enough. So we ordered another box of 1000 to make the total 1500.
Initially I was able to get a number of pails for the towers; chlorine pails from the pool and sticky-sauce pails from the supermarket deli but both sources dried up just after I confirmed our strawberry order. The pool converted to UV treatment and the deli counter icky-“food” section is gone. That meant that I only had enough pails to accommodate 200 crowns, leaving 1300 for starts. Given that last year we sold fewer than 300, it seemed unreasonable to try to sell 4 times more this year.
So, we’ve spent a bunch of time preparing the sunniest, flattest, least stony of our marginal Rainbow land for a conventional strawberry crop. It’s all good, though. Not only did I get to use up a roll of high quality plastic mulch that I otherwise had no use for, I get to use one of the garage sale tools I acquired last year for next to nothing; a Tiger Torch.
This propane flame thrower has already been used by someone else to char the ends of some cedar fence posts (which makes them last longer in the ground). But, on super low flame, it’s great for melting holes in the plastic mulch to make holes for the strawberry plants. Each hole takes about 2 seconds and leaves a hole that is free of the strands of woven fabric that are created when you try to cut holes out of it. And it keeps the hole-manufacturer on his feet which, sadly, will be the only phase of this project done upright. But I’ll take it!
Speaking of strawberries, we will have single potted plants and packs of six for sale starting at tomorrow’s Saturday market. Also new this week will be broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage starts.