I’ve missed fresh greens from the high tunnel a lot this winter. Watching the melting snow this week, I realized we’ll probably get to re-cover the tunnel earlier than expected. All we need (ha ha…we need everything) is the poly and to make a few repairs, and for the snow to melt around the frame and more to not fall, and the wind to not blow while we get a tremendous potential kite on the frame and secured. Then we’ll have to build raised beds. That’s all…
In the meantime, I’m planning the growing seasons in the tunnel. If we get the tunnel covered by the end of March, highly unlikely, I won’t be too far behind in planting the tomatoes. The soil will need to drain and be amended, the raised beds built and filled, and the seedlings in the ground by the third week in April to be on schedule. Dream big, I’m told often these days. I’m hoping.
Raised Beds in the High Tunnel
I have the raised beds figured out. I want the tunnel to be productive and attractive. I’ll be growing some plants, roses I’m trying to root if all goes well, for their beauty. I want the Silkies to spend the winter in there so they’ll have a small portable house to spend the night in. I want a place to sit and work on a sunny winter day when it’s warm and bright inside. So many plans. If I get a tenth of it done this year I’ll be happy.
The top of the drawing is the south side. The sun rises on the left / east, right behind the tunnel, in June. The beds are 4′ x 8′ x 10″ and 4′ x 16′ x 10″. There’s a little work space between the six on the south side. The space between end walls and the beds is 6′. I’ll have a compost bin on the northeast corner. The door is on the right / west end.
The Short and Tall of It
The sun shines on a corner of the north wall for a couple of weeks a year. Shadows aren’t cast from that side so it’s the best place to grow the tall plants. I have the tomatoes and cucumbers growing up twine on that side most of the time. The shadows they cast don’t hit other plants. The short plants are on the south side so they get full sun all day.
There will be some crop rotation as the plan comes together. A full bed of carrots, another of with rows of beets, turnip, rutabaga, parsnips, probably a potato or two. Everything I’m going to grow but pumpkins and maybe a few winter squash will be grown in the raised beds in the high tunnel. I still plan to buy a lot from a local grower. <insert feelings of withdrawals here>
I’ll keep notes here as we build the beds, get them filled and the soil amended, plant, weed, harvest, and replant this year. Let’s hope for getting on schedule by re-covering so we get back to growing great food in raised beds in the high tunnel.