Its been a very busy week. We've been trying super hard to keep to our seed sowing schedule, but we slipped a little behind this week. We've been hurrying to finish up on our Hoophouse construction job, and now we are close to being done. What has also been a bit of a challenge this week is trying to keep up with the early harvest and deliveries of our blooming flowers due to the incredibly nice weather. It is so wonderful to have flowers blooming for Valentine's Day. We usually have some to offer but this year our tulips are exploding with blooms waaay ahead of schedule. Not complaining, just trying to keep on top of them every few hours. The next variety up are some parrots that are shown in this posts header above.
We like to harvest our tulips with the bulbs still attached so that if they are not sold, we can wrap them up in paper and store them upright in our cooler for a week or so. For some reason when pulling some of our tulips, the bulbs are snapping off which means we can not store them very long. So they get cleaned and sleeved for immediate sale. Right now not much is being stored anyway as the tulips are flying out of the cooler for designers and florists to play with for Valentine's Day.
This is a new tulip variety we are trying this year. She is called Dynasty and is a soft pink blush single tulip. It has a long stem length and medium size bloom that is perfect for bouquets. We think she is a winner.
As you can see the sun has been shining and we have been running around in shirt sleeves. Very crazy and unusual. It also means that I need to pick anemones daily and sometimes twice a day. We just don't want to miss a perfect bloom that someone can use and enjoy.
After a long hiatus working on other projects on the Farm we finally got back to our hoophouse construction project. This week we finished framing the ends and rigging the guide wires and anchors. We figured we'd have to wait for the perfect day( no wind) to put the skin(plastic) on so to speak. We didn't have to wait long, Wednesday was perfect with barely a breeze and temps approaching 60F.
This was our first attempt for just the two of us with putting plastic on so we wanted to be sure we had an insurance policy against the plastic errantly starting to act like a sail. From the picture below you can see the white ropes attached to the hoop anchors and stretched out on the ground. We unrolled the plastic on top of these ropes then flipped the loose end of the ropes over the center purlin strap and tied it loosely to the hoop anchor on the opposite side. As we pulled the plastic from one side to the other the loosely tied safety ropes over every third hoop kept the plastic from blowing away.
It took the two of us about 2 hours to do this entire job. We took a video of this process but unfortunately our camera stopped at the most crucial point of us actually pulling the plastic over the hoops. Bummer! Farmer Tony wanted to know if I thought we should take the plastic down and redo our video... I told him he's nuts! Even the dog voted no! On a serious note, we are still going to put a video out about the job on this next week. We think there is always something new to learn with each job!
After we evened the plastic out we used wiggle wire to attach it to the metal hoops on each end. We then tidied up the ends to the wood frames and then by using the guide wire anchor ratchets we brought the ends upto square, which put tight tension on the plastic. Our last step was attaching the tie down ropes over each hoop which made the structure quite rigid. We have a couple of finishing touches left like plastic drop down doors on the ends, attaching the 2 foot tall side shields and general cleanup, but basically this project is winding down and should be ready for planting in a week or so! Welcome to the Farm Hoopty Do 4! The soil inside is already dry enough to fork and amend!
By the way be sure to check out the excellent videos by Rain Drop Farms on their big Caterpillar build! They used the same Farmer's Friend LLC caterpillar tunnel kit as we did. They put together their ends in a pretty cool way too. Looks real sharp! We think these tunnel kits are going to be a real affordable game changer for local flower farming folks who need some lower cost alternatives for season extension.
"A little progress each day adds up to big results."