Where is everyone

Marlin L Burkholder gleneco1 at juno.com
Tue Oct 30 22:34:33 EST 2001

I believe this
is the first time in 8 years we actually got most of the garden planted
in cover crops.

No kidding!  Mine got planted in cover crops again this year as in most
years.  WEEDS.  There is an old dude at our farmers' market who likes to
talk about how weeds tilled back in to the soil are better for the soil
(in his opinion) than many planted cover crops.  One can't argue about
the cost effectiveness of establishing this kind of cover crop.  If he is
right,  then I should be setting mighty pretty.

I have a 14' x 24' hoophouse, constructed last spring,  that I planted
full of tomatoes in late April.  I started picking ripe tomatoes out of
there about 2 weeks before the field tomatoes came in and I am still
picking from it.  I did a quick, cheap(old plastic feed sacks sewed
together), and dirty job of installing roll up side curtains.  When the
first frost of the season came the first week of this month, I thought
they would be in good shape with the double poly end wall doors closed
and the sides rolled down.  That first frost turned out to unusually hard
and early for our area and I was dismayed to find my hoophose tomatoes
had been nipped pretty hard but not totally killed.  Those feed sacks
just didn't cut it.  Despite that I still have been able to harvest
$60-$80 of tomatoes per week from that hoophouse through October.  Some I
had to strain pretty hard (I am 6'4" tall) reaching up to pick them.  It
was awesome.  When last week's cold front blew in,  it blew a 6' piece of
dead limb from a nearby tree down through the top of my hoophouse right
smack dab in the center on top leaving a 4'' hole through both layers of
poly.  Arrrrgh!  That coupled with the further deteriorating side
curtains and another night in the mid 20's pretty well finished off the
tomatoes this time around.  Next job--install proper side curtains, rip
out the tomatoes, and get the salad crops planted.  I'm shooting to be
eating green in January and February.

Marlin Burkholder
Shenandoah Valley of VA

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