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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Rip van Risa

Risa renews the straw after cleaning up the grow tunnel

Grow tunnel report: we ate all the lettuce, mizuna and spinach early on, and had bok choi into December, but the three days at 8F temperatures took care of that. As usual the survivors were garlic, onions, and kale, all of which did just as well outside the tunnel. Some chard died to the ground also, and is coming back, but not eating size yet. So we regard the effort of construction as not having paid for itself so far.

A lot of hand-picking of slugs is ongoing, too. Outside the tunnel they seem to be hibernating mostly, but the eggs on the inside all hatched. They love to crawl up onto the plastic at night, where they are easily enough collected and fed to the chickens, but it's yet another chore.

The storms did throw the under-built tunnel around a bit but did not rip it down; some commercial operations actually have had more damage than we did. You can see in the image that we've tucked various kinds of struts into the roof, and braced two of the fence posts in the north wall. We also go round and tighten the wires as they stretch. The good news is that the hoops have not tried to lift out of the ground. Probably putting in more hoops would improve the appearance of things as well as add strength.

We have laid down some lettuce and chard seeds in a flat but the slugs are a concern; might have to commit to baiting them. We'd capture a couple of chickens and keep them in there for an hour or so, but they'd be just as fond of the kale as of the slugs.

It's interesting to hang out in the tunnel during a heavy rain; there is shelter, there is some warmth, the sound lulls one mightily. The temptation is to lie down in the straw, pull some of it over oneself, and dream -- to rise up, perchance, a generation hence and astonish the villagers no end.


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