It’s been a while since I talked much about our hugelkulture fortified greenhouse experiment. This last season has seen some significant changes in the old greenhouse so I thought I would share a little about what we’ve done and what our experiments have taught us, so here goes….
- We’ve reskinned the hoophouse with a product called Solawrap….it’s basically bubble wrap on steroids and it has been a significant improvement over the single
layer of greenhouse poly! The solawrap creates dual wall insulated outer film that holds the heat in much better and provides a nice diffuse light in the greenhouse. Result-improved growing conditions, and longer growing season!
- We created a 4 ft wide by 8 ft long by 3 ft deep compost bin in the middle of the greenhouse. This has provided us with some supplemental heat early in the year and some nice finished compost to top the beds with. I plan on converting this into a permanent planting bed with some low growing tree/bushes (figs, herbs, maybe a pomegranate who knows!!) Result-longer growing season, better soil and moisture retention in beds!
- One of our raised bed walls was leaning pretty bad so we had to dig that out and reinforce it. Make sure you bury your posts deep enough, wet soil is incredibly heavy even when most of it is logs not dirt! Result-much better looking beds, but a bit less surface area to plant into!
- Tried a permanent heavy straw mulch to keep soil covered. It retained moisture pretty well but….Result-major vermin infestation!!! (I’m talking deer mice, house mice, mad voles, shrews, and I think there may even be a ground squirrel sneaking around!!!) FAIL!!!!
- Installed low tunnels on grow beds in the greenhouse. We repurposed the old greenhouse skin to make low tunnels to cover the beds and the results have been great! We’ve taken tomatoes into November a full 45 days of season extension for us! Volunteer/perenialized kale is still actively growing! Should have done this a long time ago….can’t wait for the spring, gonna try double stacking wall-o-waters inside the low tunnels inside the greenhouse for some major early season head start! Result-major season extension WIN!!!!
Well those are the major updates on the hugelkulture greenhouse for the 2017 growing season! For more information on our greenhouse experiment check out the Greenhouse Project page tab for the how to and previous updates…..