The Hoop House

Today, we made our first harvest of the season which included gourmet lettuce, baby spinach, mesculin mix, and radishes.  Although we were surprised by the size of this early harvest, we had no trouble selling the fresh veggies! 

Our greatest achievement of the week has been the completion of the hoop house.  This has been a multi-week process from planning, setting posts, building a frame, and attaching the plastic.  Since none of us have had any past experience with hoop houses, we were forced to figure things out as we went along.  After many trips to the hardware store, a little help from the SMC carpentry shop for tools and supplies, and a lot of creativity, we finally completed the structure.  One of our greatest challenges was attaching the plastic in a way that is strong enough to withstand wind, yet is also adjustable to allow for air flow and ventilation.  Our finished product has sides that can be rolled up and secured at the top for this purpose.
 
Currently, two of our tomato beds are growing inside the hoop house.  We will be able to compare the success of these tomatoes with two other beds growing in the open.  We hope that the hoop house will help protect the plants from the dreaded tomato blight and keep them at their preferred warmer growing temperature.  We will install a thermometer to help us manage the temperature inside the hoop house.  Following the tomato growing season, we will plant the beds inside the hoop house with a fall crop of greens, extending our growing season.  

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