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Update From The HOT House

April 2, 2012

With the first two days of April bringing highs in the upper 80s, I’m struggling to keep the polytunnel ventilated well enough to keep the lettuce from bolting (the spinach is already toast).

You may recall I started removing the ends a couple of weeks back; the door and window are both down now and a fan pulls air through from 11:00AM until 6:00PM. I’ve found that the key is not to let it heat up early, if this happens it is difficult to get the temps back under control without some lucky breezes.

I’m giving the middle bed a break from tomatoes this year, so it will host the cool weather crops into the last reaches of spring. Beans will follow for the nitrogen they will leave behind (except for the north end, which will be host to a “semi permanent” artichoke plant shortly.)

In the meantime, the bed is flush with lettuce and kale that so far is resisting major bolting (and the previously referenced toasted spinach in the foreground); note the open north end with the hanging fan blowing away:

The temperatures have allowed me to keep the tomato and pepper starts out on top of the “double water barrel table” for a few weeks now. I’ll start transplanting this week; all in all the basement grow box and the poly tunnel have made things much easier this year.

This year’s tomatoes and a few peppers:

One more thing: I prove again that total slackness in garden maintenance often yields results that I couldn’t get if I tried….

Two years ago I started some “Tommy Toe” cherry tomatoes at the same time. It is a scientific fact that a single plant provides about 10,000 more tomatoes that a human can eat in a season, and therefore about 5000 of these will drop and hit the ground, be hauled off by squirrels or grackles to be dropped in a surprise spot, or be left on the plant until they are pulled and composted.

Last year I never started a seed; I just encouraged some of the dozens of volunteers that appeared everywhere. When the season was over I meant to compost mine after I pulled them; I really did. Apparently placing them aside “temporarily” on top of a compost pile doesn’t exactly work, as proven by the hatchling Tommy Toe army in the gourd box that received the bulk of that particular compost pile this spring.

Anyone need a Tommy Toe plant? These things are 3 times the size of the carefully started and coddled seedlings in the previous picture. Go figure.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 3, 2012 3:38 am

    Weird how the rogue plants are always better than the ones we carefully nurture. So annoying!

    • April 3, 2012 5:43 am

      I’ll take being lucky of being good on most days 😉

      Along these lines, I’m setting free some of last year’s garlic stock that has sprouted to take over a small corner of my garden. We’ll see how it does wild and “free ranging”.

  2. April 3, 2012 6:28 am

    You need shade cloth! We are planning to use that on ours (y’ know… the one not built yet). It does get blazing hot once the temps get warm.

    • April 3, 2012 10:05 pm

      Yes, I know. I had it in the cart when I ordered the row cover but cheaped out on myself and deleted it.

      Live and learn eh?

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