Suburban Greens

Farming in Tri-Cities neighborhoods, local produce grown organically


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March into April Prep

I hoped much of the new property prep would be finished by February but that was way too optimistic.  Preparation continued well into March, and then because of alternating cold snaps and high temperatures mixed with frequent rains its been difficult to work the soil and plant.  I did finally build a large caterpillar tunnel.  It is twelve by fifty feet and a little more than six and a half feet tall.

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Collecting materials took the most time.  The frame is attached by pounding old top rail fencing material into the ground.  I took out a fence this winter and so had plenty of steel.  The twenty foot 1.5 inch PVC pipe fit perfectly over the top rail to make solid footing.  It took only a few hours to get everything in place.  Looks like it has good bones.  I covered the pvc with duct tape to protect the greenhouse plastic from early degradation.  The plastic sheeting took another two hours.  Thankfully neighbors on both sides jumped in and helped.  Everyone was surprised how fast the temperature rose inside with the plastic on.  Hopefully tomatoes will go in this weekend.  I will also plant bell peppers there as well.  I have overwintered spinach on the property as well as garlic.  I planted lettuce, broccoli and cabbage three weeks ago and onions this week.  I still have lots of new ground to turn over but things are looking good.

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Caterpillar March 4-5

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I planted lettuce this weekend in one of my raised beds and also at the new garden.  I covered both with plastic because we are likely to have a few hard frosts before spring really gets going.  Caterpillar tunnels are a nice way to add a couple months to the season.  They don’t hold a snow load well but they do provide a nice growing environment when the weather is cold.  My raised bed will only provide space for about 75 heads of lettuce.  The tunnel above will hold more than ten times that.  And they are quite easy to put up.  I had this up in less than an hour with 12 pvc pipes and a little clear plastic.