It’s the Friday Field Update, with Farmer Chad!
Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone! Our greenhouse sure is repping it's green, I hope you are! In this brand new weekly post, I will keep all of you updated with a brief overview of the happenings during the past week on our Farm, along with some pictures, maybe a video or two, and some fun facts.
Another winter is coming to a close (maybe…) which means our greenhouses are filling with green again! From Superbells to Tomatoes to almost every vegetable we grow, the heat is pumping and the oxygen is flowing.
What I am most excited about this past week is our high tunnel tomatoes. High tunnels provide several great benefits to growing tomatoes. They protect the fruit and plants from the damaging elements, especially water. High tunnels also hold in a little heat to help extend the homegrown tomato season, which for us is mainly the spring so we can get those awesome tomatoes as soon as possible! Lastly, they are still grown in the earth so they maintain that excellent field flavor.
This will be the third year we have grown tomatoes in the ground under cover, but this is the first year we will be grafting all of our plants. Growing any crop in the same soil repeatedly is not a good idea. This leads to a buildup of soil-borne diseases which can be really nasty. However, it is no small feat to move a high tunnel. So in lieu of moving the tunnel, we graft the plants. We select a variety of tomato that will provide the fruit we desire as the top half of the plant (scion), and the variety that will give the plant a vigorous and disease resistant bottom half (rootstock). So even though we only need 400 plants for our tunnel, we grow 800 for the grafting process. 400 scion plants and 400 rootstocks, with a little extra of course, in case we have any casualties. We cut the tomato plants in half and attach the top half of the scion variety to the bottom half of the rootstock variety, and let them heal together. Last week we bare-root transplanted the seedlings, and this coming week we think the plants will be ready for grafting! Stay tuned next week for pictures.
That’s all for this week. Thanks for reading and I look forward to sharing more of our farm activities next week!