Monday, January 2, 2017

Low tunnel fail

     We have had a major fail on the farm. This fall we decided to invest in a low tunnel hoop bender and then used the bender to bend electrical conduit into low tunnel hoops.We also ordered one of their frost covers. When we started forming the low tunnels using our new bender we were thrilled. The bender worked great and we plan on ordering different sizes. We mounted the bender to an old wooden shipping crate that we found in a shed. Making the hoops went really fast and they turned out perfect. We were hoping to use the hoops with the frost cover to extend the growing season at the farm. We used ten-foot electrical conduit to make hoops about four feet tall and used these to cover over our Brussel sprouts. We used five-foot conduit to make a tunnel about two and a half feet tall.

This size we used over our broccoli plants. The tunnels worked well and the plants did great under them. We wired our hoops to fence posts we had driven into the ground and we will try wooden boards next time. Then, we covered the hoops with our frost cover.

We then lined the sides with our many rocks to hold the frost cover in place. It all looked so good and we were very happy with our work. Then, Mother Nature showed out with rain and high winds. The next morning we found out that one of our frost covers had blown over. Well, blown might be and understatement, the cover over the Brussel sprouts had blown completely over, hoops and all, only the rocks had kept the frost cover from blowing into the next county. Our farm is in a valley between the mountains and the valley acts like a wind tunnel. The cover that blew over was facing sideways with the side taking the wind full force and was about 4' tall. We decided to take down this cover so that it didn't blow over again.
We hope the Brussel sprouts can take the cold. The frost cover that didn't blow over was facing into the wind and was only about 2' tall. We didn't stick the hoops to far in the ground because we knew we would take them up, but we thought we had them deep enough to resist the wind. We were obviously wrong.
We will keep you updated on how the uncovered Brussel sprouts do. We are going to use our hoops to grow earlier in the spring. We are going to work with mother nature and line up our tunnels differently next time. We have learned a lot.  If you use low tunnels please let us know how you anchor them to the ground. We ordered our bender from a company called Build My Own We were very happy with this company and will continue to order from them. They also sell greenhouse supplies. We hope we will soon be able to build a greenhouse.

No comments:

Post a Comment