[Market-farming] Hi Tunnel innovations

Roots Farm karen at rootsfarm.info
Mon Jan 18 12:31:06 EST 2016


Have to echo Beth’s caution re the personal impact of year round growing.  Used to seem like the best thing in the world…when I was in temperate zone and forced to substitute garden dreams for actualities.  Now in tropics, the lack of time off coupled with farmers’ hours (and financial returns)  is heart and passion deadening — “burnout, I believe is term used for similar situations is nonagricultural fields — and destructive of ability to balance one’s life.  Bible tells us to let fields get fallow time; I think there are many good reasons, both agricultural and personal, to pay attention.    
  
Best wishes to all,

Karen
(heading out to weed, pick limas, etc.)

Roots Farm Organic Produce
Fruits, Roots, Vegetables & Herbs
Cochrane, DOMINICA
767-449-3038 (before 7 P.M.)
karen at rootsfarm.info

On Jan 18, 2016, at 12:45 PM, Beth Spaugh <lists at rhomestead.com> wrote:

I have grown/harvested year-round for 11 years.  I am looking to cut back and take some mental time off in the winter.  Marketing is by far my least favorite farm activity, and I want a break.  Also, it will ease the timing stress of still harvesting one thing but wanting to plant summer crops.  And will give the soil a little break.  

But I am a one-woman show.  If your son needs year-round income, and you are providing for two families, year-round will certainly help.  There were years when I covered my expenses during the growing season and made my "income" from fall/winter sales.

I'd like to see how MSU used twine for the row cover.  We took 10-foot conduit, bent it into very wide/flat 
U shape (Iike 18" legs) and used it for row cover.  One our 26-foot wide it takes two that have one end bent and one with both ends bent, zip-tied together so cover the whole thing, with just enough edge room to squeeze by. 

Here is a link to a photo: https://www.facebook.com/rhomestead/photos/a.261602691286.186350.261550161286/10150511677091287/?type=3&theater <https://www.facebook.com/rhomestead/photos/a.261602691286.186350.261550161286/10150511677091287/?type=3&theater>



On 1/18/2016 8:21 AM, Shoemaker, William H wrote:
> Thought I'd share this to stimulate the list a bit. Seems like its been pretty dormant this winter.
> 
> I first learned about tunnels for growing crops about 20 years ago, through the academic community I was part of, especially New Hampshire. I built my first one in 1998 and it changed my perspective on market farming enormously. Since then, tunnels have become well-established on market farms all over the world. I suspect almost all subscribers to this list who actually run or work on a market farm have at least one tunnel for growing crops. One of the great things that seemed to happen after growers began to use them was innovation. Growers had great ideas for how to adjust management of tunnels, or even make changes to the tunnel itself to better position themselves for success in the market. Keeping in mind that everyone has a unique market, I'm curious if anyone would like to share an innovation they adopted, or created, that gave them an advantage in their market.
> 
> While I'm not growing commercially, yet, I expect to. I'm selling my house and will look for a property where we can set ourselves up for sustainable living and a market farming operation. I'll be 64 in a few months but I'm in very good physical condition and will be looking to benefit from the work involved. However, at least one of my sons wants to be involved as well, so I'll be able to pace myself. But I want to be able to have product in the marketplace 12 months/year. I think that will have a great benefit to the business. So I intend to use row covers inside the tunnels to keep the crops thriving during the colder times of the year. I really like the design John Berbaum at Michigan State was advocating a few years ago, where he had the cover suspended above the crops and drawn from one side of the tunnel across a pipe framework that held it up. He could use twine to pull the whole piece of row cover uniformly across the crop, or back into the side. This reduced effort and time to use the cover, and improved the crop at the same time.
> 
> That's my contribution. Anyone have other ideas that improved their tunnel operation?
> 
> Bill
> William H. Shoemaker
> 
> Retired fruit and vegetable horticulturist
> 
> University of Illinois
> 
> wshoemak at illinois.edu <mailto:wshoemak at illinois.edu>
> 
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-- 
Beth Spaugh
Rehoboth Homestead, Peru NY
http://rhomestead.com <http://rhomestead.com/>      http://www.facebook.com/rhomestead <http://www.facebook.com/rhomestead>

"How we eat determines, to a considerable extent, how the world is used." -
Wendell Berry

"Without power over our food, any notion of democracy is empty." - Frances
Moore Lappe

It's not that nice guys finish last. They have a whole different notion
where the finish line is. - unknown
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