Friends Drift Inn Farm – Gardening
Spring Vegetable Gardening Part II
Have mercy on me, I am in bed sick trying to type out a few notes for Friday’s Gardening post.
On “Mountain Monday” Charlie and I visited University of Kentucky Robinson Center for Sustainable Farming. Our mission; to see what the Extension folks had to say about Spring Vegetable Gardening. This is Part 2 of that adventure.
Extending the Season Hoops and High Tunnels
If you are like me, this winter seems to have drug on and on. I dream of fresh spring Bibb lettuce and having “first tomatoes” on the creek.
Dr. Shawn Wright, pictured above, suggested getting a jump on the season by constructing high and low tunnels. Using PVC pipe anchored on stakes and arched above with some greenhouse plastic to create the enclosure, this is a cheaper and easier way to ease into greenhouse gardening.
Low tunnels are often used here to protect greens during the fickle months of March and April when weather is anything but predictable. PVC pipe will easily bend into low arches. Stretch plastic over the arches, cut a few slit in plastic to avoid overheating…and there you have it. A quick way to produce greens before your neighbors even realize it’s spring!
For cold sensitive plants, Dr. Wright recommended constructing a high tunnel over a low tunnel giving a double insulation effect.
Odds and Ends
Do bugs plague your strawberries? Dr. Wright recommends a companion planting of mustard. Mustard Greens? Yes, mustard. Apparently mustard gives off a chemical that bugs attracted to strawberries find disagreeable.
On the topic of bugs, Extension Specialist has had sightings of the “Stink Bug” in several Kentucky counties. These nasty buggers are starting to nest in homes. Rather than insecticide, Wright recommends caulking well around windows and doors, closing off access to the rogues.
Late blight is expected to be a problem again this summer. It is a devastating disease. In the morning your crop looks fine, and by evening it is a swiveled miserable mess. Late blight shows it’s ugly face on potatoes and tomatoes.
To help prevent late blight, do not save seed potatoes from one season to the next. Avoid wetting leaves of plants when watering. Mulching, particularly around tomatoes helps to keep the splash factor down…which in turn protects your plants. Avoid working your plants when leaves are wet.
Fungicide is a last resort. Wright cautions that plants must be fully covered in solution to effectively control blight.
Late Blights on Tomatoes Info Cornell University