Friday, June 29, 2012

Consternation and Heat

I know everyone is writing about being hot, but I am going to write tonight about a few things we have learned from building the hoophouse in this wacky weather year.

First off... we are glad we did.  We foresee a fast start to growing in it in the future.

This year, however, we were behind the learning curve.

Hoop house in March:

Hoop House now:

Here are some things we learned.

1.  They need a bed of pea gravel or some other substance to hold down the weeds growing inside the perimeter.

To wit:

Oh, wait, you can't see the weeds from that direction, but believe me, they are there.

You can get an idea from this.  I am going to pull this tomato out tomorrow, I have to run it by Keith before I do.  It never did very well, and has no blossoms on it now.  I think it is the Big Boy.
We are not sure if the humidity brought in all the wilt, or if the barrels were treated with something toxic to the plants. 
However, some of the tomatoes are doing fine, and they are all planted in the same kind of barrel.

2. Bigger planters. 

To wit:

Keith, as an experiment, left the peppers in their containers.  It did NOT work.  Everyday I come home from work, and no matter how I watered the night before or the morning of... they are wilted pretty badly.  I am ready to throw the peppers on the compost heap.  We don't eat that many, and I was going to have to buy peppers anyway to make red pepper jelly. The containers are just too small for this heat.

You can see the weeds behind them.

The bench, however, was the BOMB.  I'll use it next year, because I'll be the primary gardener.

I'm not so sure the double-bin set up worked all that well, either.  However, the herbs did great in them.

The cilantro is already gone to seed, but I am going to plant a patch of it, I have decided.

And last.... TICKS.

Folks, I work for a company that makes a famous tick spot-on application... one you have all seen on tv being advertised.

We need a tick medicine for HUMANS.  Keith and I do a tick-check every single night, and most mornings.  I live in fear of a tick becoming embedded in my nether regions  (laugh).  But, I'm actually serious, as I knew someone to whom it happened.  We have found more ticks on us this year than ever before... and I think, ever in my life!  Just ten minutes ago I found another one on the side of my face, got it off, and flushed it.

We would have guineas everywhere except for two problems:  Lilly Ann, who will kill every bird she can get her mouth close to... and Ranger, who, in the early days, killed some ducks we had.  Guineas can't be kept inside the pasture perfectly, so until the big dogs are gone, we can't have guineas.

Keith and I just went out to lock the bigger chicks up, and the chick I thought looked like a rooster, IS.  He just jumped a pullet out there, so he has sealed his fate... we can't keep another big rooster here, it would mean constant fighting.  I'm sorry for this, and I think when the chick man gives "extras"... he's pulling them from the meat bird box. (cockerels)

We found six of the tiny birds out in the henyard, and I am sure they were chased there by the hens going in for the night.  We caught them, with some trouble, with the net.  The bigger chicks, though, are used to the routine now, and go right in when they see us coming to lock them up.  We did laugh to see one of them taking her first dirt bath, she very carefully laid down and cleaned herself up.. they are so remarkable!

Early to rise tomorrow, to try to get watering done before the heat builds.  I noticed tonight my snaps are gone, dried out in the heat, as is the balsam.  It's going to be a long hot summer!

Linking tonight with
Farm Photo Friday, with Farmchick.

Won't you all pause and say a prayer for the folks who have been devastated by the wildfires in nine different states, and those poor people in Colorado who have lost everything this week?  We feel in our hearts for their losses.


  1. I wish we knew how to make a hoop house kinda like yours!
    I guess its all live and learn.
    One of our friends just got a solar green house- sounds interesting?
    Yes, we are remembering all those being chased by the fires- we have some friend that are affected.
    I think everyone does,

  2. Sounds like a hot time over there, cant believe how bad those fires are! Was watching NASA`s shots of them from space, wow! So be carefull out there!

    We use spot on for most insect applications, works well!

  3. Well...
    ya win some, ya lose some.
    Sounds like you have learned some valuable lessons that will help you with the hoop house next Spring.

    I'm thinking we need cold frames here.
    My Dad had them when I was young, and I remember them being successful.

    Sorry about the ticks.
    We only have ticks in the mountains, and on the sagebrush.

    Thanks for your continued prayers and concern for all affected by wildfires.
    Praying for a drenching rain!!!


  4. You always have to have a practice year to learn about things. Sounds like you'll be ready to go next year for sure. I've been complaining about ticks all summer. I've never seen them like this before~on me and the goats. I certainly agree we need something to keep them off of us like they make for cats and dogs.

  5. It is so dry, it's a scary year for fires anywhere in the West.
    Sounds like you'll be ready for a beautiful garden next year.

  6. The weather causes lots of damage and stress to folks.


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