Is that November, complete with losing a whole hour of daylight? Why yes it is and with it those cool nights perfect for a bonfire, marshmallow or wiener roast, or just plain star gazing. Just be sure to bundle up.
November came like a whirlwind for us! It is quite shocking to believe that the year is less than 60 days from being over! Then again, the whole year has really been like that – just flying by. We have been busy but doing nothing new, just much of the same – plant, weed, harvest, and repeat. This month’s newsletter will be quite brief as there isn’t really much going on.
Hoopty Goings On
We are happy to report that the high tunnel is nearly full! There are a total of 12 rows in the high tunnel each with the potential to be double planted (one row on each side of the drip tape). If you are wondering what that looks like, perhaps the outline below will help.
- Row one – Here we have an established row of strawberries that have been there since the Spring planting of 2020. This is there home. We fertilize them quarterly. This year we added some Rosemary to the row in a gap where several strawberry plants died.
- Row two – This row housed our Swiss Chard which gave way to pest pressure. We had planned to leave it until it went to seed but the pests had other plans. The row has been cleared and weed barrier has been laid down to aid in weed suppression. Carrots, radishes, or beets will be planted here within the month.
- Row three – This row has bell and hot peppers planted. It will be over-wintered in the high tunnel with the aid of frost blankets on the really cold nights.
- Row four – On this row you will find basil, kale, Asian greens, and green beans. The last of the green beans will be harvested this week and this part of the row will be replanted with some lettuce or spinach after some amending.
- Row five – This row holds a trial we are running. We have planted on one side of the tape parsnips and on the other side lettuce. If you have ever grown parsnips you know they can be particularly difficult to germinate. This has meant that we have done a couple of plantings to ensue that as much of the row as possible is being utilized. Time will tell how parsnips grow in the high tunnel.
- Row six – This row houses more hot peppers, in fact the hottest that we grow – The Carolina Reaper. These will also be over-wintered. We also have some banana, serrano, jalapeno, and Italian roasting peppers on this row. These will be pulled and the soil amended to prepare for planting brassicas.
- Row seven – Holds our beautiful parsley – flat and curled leaf and more, you guessed it – peppers! The peppers will be removed and we hope to plant more curly kale along with more parsley on this row.
- Row eight – This row was just planted with turnips and a few short season artichokes that we are experimenting with.
- Row nine – On this row you will find peppers and eggplant which were over – wintered last year. It is amazing to me when I realize that this entire row was planted in Spring of 2020! Most of the plants actually increased in production and the Bell peppers are far larger than last year! Unfortunately, we are finally seeing signs that these guys are ready to rest. We hope to harvest the remaining peppers and eggplant then pull the plants. This soil will definitely need some amending. We will likely add compost and allow it to lay fallow till the Spring.
- Row ten – This row has been planted with new Swiss Chard and Snap peas.
- Row eleven – This home to our established mustards and marigolds that will soon be tilled under to serve as green manure and natural fungicide.
- Row twelve – This end row has our carrot varieties. Also on this row we have Greek Oregano.
Do you now see why we are so happy to have the high tunnel full? Hoopty is a lot of work to be sure but we have thoroughly enjoyed working in it and learning how to be productive in our growing practices. We will soon be hosting a field day through the Beginning Farmer Program through the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. If you are interested in learning how to grow in a high tunnel, control pests in a high tunnel, or even learn about grant opportunities to build a high tunnel of your own, this field day is for you! Be sure to follow our social media outlets for all the details.
As temperatures are dropping we will begin closing the sides of the high tunnel at night and opening in the morning. This time of the year is hard because a normally self maintaining system needs a bit more attention. It is important that we do so however because this will keep the soil from getting too cool which would really slow the growth of the Fall veggies aforementioned. Once we get back into the groove it won’t be so bad.
Despite all of the planting we have done we still have not planted our flower bulbs or onions. The good thing about most of our flowering bulbs is that they are perennial and will be returning on their own. Each year we like to add a new variety to add to the beauty of the farm and to harvest for beautiful arrangements. This Fall we are adding yellow tulips and a peppermint tulip. If they look anything like the photo I’m sure you will love them as much as we do! It brings us much joy to harvest and arrange a fresh bouquet and deliver them. If you would like to know more about our Flowers by BHG service click here.
More Fall Planting
As far as onions we didn’t order any bulbs this year. This opens the way for us to try to grow our own from seed. We recognize that t is rather late to be doing so as most onions take up to a week to even germinate! Still we are going to give it a go. If we find success great; if not, well now we know! Either way we will take you along on the ride. We plan to plant both white and red varieties.
This Week’s Listings
We are happy to offer our Purple Stemmed Mustard for the first time this week! This first harvest will be small so if you are interested we suggest you jump on these before they are gone. Along with those greens we also are offering Arugula and Chijimisa. The season has almost come to an end for most of our eggplant as most of them are not planted in the high tunnel however we will have them for one more week. In addition to our herbs we also will have sweet peppers. If you are wanting a bit of everything then the Farm Sampler Basket may be more your speed. All available to you from our family to yours.