This is an unusual year for high tunnel growing. It’s hot now and then, unusually cool and raining the next. We have more cool wet days than hot and dry. The tunnel is full but outside, only bush beans that aren’t doing well, pumpkins and squash. We don’t have enough hot sunny days to do the vines justice. I’m concentrating on perennial flowers this year. And next. And the year after. One of these days I’ll outline what’s going on in the perennial gardens and write the story. Right now I’m dong more planting and weeding and planning and sowing than writing, as it should be.

This morning, high on a ladder in the tunnel, I thought back to mid-February when I was eager for the warmth of summer. Clearly, my brain was cold and not functioning well. It was 90°, ten degrees higher than my melting/melt down point. The Cinderella pumpkin vine was out of control. Trying to keep it pruned, squash the squash bugs and their eggs, and not sweat to death in a place where nobody would see me drop was a challenge. I got it done and managed to pull weeds as well.

The vines, all from one plant, have been redirected. I cut kale to saute for pizza tonight, pruned tomatoes, tried to contain the tomatillo in its appointed space, and checked in on the cucumbers. Later on I’ll go back out with worm tea in a foliar spray. A couple of squash vines could use a boost, and I’m hoping it deters the squash bugs.

Bush beans are growing but it’s another month or more before the first pick. They’re pitiful outside so I put three rows in a 4′ x 8′ raised bed. There won’t be enough to can many. I’ll be looking for a bushel or two locally.

Emptying beds are being prepped for beets and carrots. It won’t be long until I start seeds for fall and winter crop transplants. Gardening – always planning ahead.

Bouquet Dill. This variety is used for seeds.

Tomatoes

Opalka Tomatoes
Opalka. My favorite paste tomato.
Tomato Sucker
Tomato sucker on the left.
Bobcat tomato, raised bed, high tunnel
Bobcat tomato. Comparable to Big Beef or Beef Master.

Cinderella Pumpkin Vines

cinderella pumpkin vine, high tunnel,
Untamed
vertical growing, pumpkins, cinderella pumpkin, high tunnel
Tamed

High tunnel growing can be a challenge in the summer. Blossom end rot is usually an issue I have to deal with in late July because of a decrease in watering while I’m at the Women’s Writing Retreat. I haven’t noticed any affected tomatoes or peppers this year. I know I’ll still be fighting weeds next year but they’re in much better control this year. Taking the poly off to let rain and snow wash away nutrient build up combined with bringing in weed seed infested soils was a disaster. I’m happy with the progress so far this year.

Coming up: A video taken in the tunnel this afternoon so you can get a feel for what it’s like to be in there. Kale info. More on squash bugs. Chicks are coming!