Updated: Mar 17, 2019
The picture is of the garden I've had til now. It's 70' x 70' and produces quite a lot, but not nearly enough. :) We are expanding our whole operation this spring to include a large hoophouse and many beds covering the field in front of the house and barn. It's going to be a big year.
We've been contemplating putting up a hoophouse for quite some time and finally jumped in and ordered one from a greenhouse supply store nearby in Pennsylvania. It's definitely not the optimal time to be building it, as it would be really useful to have it in place now, but there is probably never a perfect time.
Our region is predicted to get 4-8" of snow this afternoon and evening so my hubby and I were out early this late winter morning cutting the straps off the shipment and looking at all the pieces, moving boxes out of the weather and under the eaves of the barn, then measuring out the location of the hoophouse on the field. We've read the three pages of instructions included (we were warned by the sellers that the Amish instructions were brief) plus a book on using and installing a hoophouse, so pretty much all we can say is that we are now pretty nervous about putting this thing up. Hubby went to look into renting a pneumatic post driver, which is how we will install the 50 posts when the snow disappears. We have rocky ground, with exposed veins of rock running through our fields, and our house and barn are made of fieldstone quarried from this land. We have never, ever put a shovel in the ground without hitting some kind of rock or stone, so this will be a challenge. But there are hoophouses all over this county, so it's got to be possible. Somehow.
We are in many ways totally unprepared to be moving forward having not even removed the sod or prepared the soil yet. Or whatever we are going to do. That's another huge job to be done in the next week. It's so wonderful to have a husband who is such a good sport. He has his own full time job. But he's off for two weeks and we hope to get a lot done.
Starting seed continues. We got out our three tier grow light from the barn. I've had it for years, but haven't used it for awhile. Got it all cleaned up and ready to use. I've never used germination mats much, but just purchased three 4' mats that fit in the trays of the grow light trays. Most of the seeds I'm germinating at the moment require the heat. I've only had one little mat up until now, so this is a move up in scale. Today I seeded clary sage, strawflower, digitalis, and hollyhocks. The Madame Butterfly snapdragons started about 14 days ago are just sprouting and the sweet peas out in the greenhouse are sprouting at about a 50-60% germination rate. Hopefully more will sprout. They just started popping up a couple days ago.
Tomorrow I'm attending a creative women in business workshop in Baltimore and will leave hubby to get a lot of work done on his own. (Probably a good move for our collective sanity.)