Thursday, November 17, 2011

High Tunnel Harvest

This is how it looked in the high tunnel as I harvested greens Tuesday, 63 days after planting seeds.  It was 10 a.m. and the sun is very low this time of year, so there are shadows dancing on the south wall from the windbreak of leafless trees growing at the edge of the pasture, about 40 feet away .
This was the second order from high tunnel for the Good Food Store co-op. Even though I grew these greens to be sold and eaten, I can't help but hesitate in harvesting them.  It is so lush, vibrant and healthy in there, I hate to have bare spots!  I felt better after harvesting a large bin of rainbow chard -- if you hadn't seen the "before" you wouldn't even realize I had harvested all the bigggest leaves.
For this order, I picked 12 large bunches of  Rainbow chard, 12 bunches of  Biondi di Lyon Chard, 18 bunches of spinach and 8 bunches of Toscano di Nero kale.  The kale is still young, just starting to get its distinctive crinkly, dark leaves.
All of the greens are so crispy and tender - absolutely irresistible. I probably munched a salad's worth as I  picked.
Every few days i pull a carrot, a beet and a radish to check how big they are getting. The carrots are now about the size of my pinky finger. They should be about 4 inches long when fully grown, so they have a way to go.  They taste so sweet and crispy!
The radishes are  almost ping-pong-ball-sized.  These are beauty heart radishes: pale green on the outside, brilliant magenta on the inside.  These certainly could be harvested now, but  when I have eaten them  grown by others they are usually twice this size.  I think I will wait until Thanksgiving to pull very many.
The beets look great but the roots are only marble-sized yet.
This is the little inflation system that maintains air pressure between the two layers of plastic covering the greenhouse.  The air space increases the insulating effect of the the unheated high tunnel, helping to create a space inside that is one and a half growing zones warmer than outside.   The blower uses very little energy and makes hardly a sound. just a whispery little hum.


Dene said...

Really neat! We have a hoop house and it really helps extend the growing season. I love the idea of a "air pocket" between plastic layers to add more insulation. Great photos too. Thanks for sharing.

gz said...


katiegirl said...

Your greens look amazing!