Touring the Tunnels

Today turned out to be pretty warm, although it began at a frosty 29 degrees Fahrenheit. For readers abroad (and according to my stats, I have readers in Russia and Germany, as well as old friends in other far-flung places!), that's about -2 degrees Celsius. That left my newly de-foliated Brussels sprouts looking unhappy, and when I went out to get a closer look, their leaves were definitely frosted over. So I took a page out of the Farmer Boy playbook and poured water over the frosted plants while they were still well shaded early in the morning. That melted the frost off before the sun hit them, and they seemed no worse for wear as the day went on.

So while we mull over whether or not to get those Brussels sprouts under some greenhouse tunnels of their own, let's take a peek at some of the things we do have in there. We opened them up today to get some air circulation going to let the plants dry out a bit — some of our cilantro was a little slimy after being closed up. This was a great day for it — about 60 degrees and sunshiny.

In addition to great big bunches of cilantro, we also have these guys:

Here we see to the left more bok choy (which, it must be said, has been almost too successful, and we're getting a little tired of it). In the back to the right you can see one of the several heads of lettuce still going strong in there. Not pictured are a late planting of carrots, mache, spinach, and kale.

Meanwhile, over in the other tunnel:

Broccoli! Now, these have been kind of disappointing, because they were supposedly a very short season Italian variety. One kind was advertised to be mature in 45 days, the other in 75.  That should have been at the end of September and again at the end of October, but we are only just now seeing our first heads forming. Right now they are only as big as a single spear, but we are hoping that coddling them in the tunnel will help them get to a more respectable size. Again, I was remiss on fertilizing them, so this could be my own fault.

Also in this tunnel:

Our Copenhagen Market cabbage is heading up nicely. This was also meant to be a short season crop, but my lack of fertilizing, in combination with the early cabbage looper battles, may have held it back. Again, it will be nice if being in the tunnel gives it longer to grow. We'd love to get some sauerkraut going this winter.

No matter what, we have so many more greens and roots than we ever did in the past, so overall this later fall planting season has been a big success for us. I have always been much more into the big stars of summer (tomatoes, zucchini, jalapeños, corn), but I think I've been converted to the quieter plants of autumn!


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