Miolea Organic Farm

  (Adamstown, Maryland)
Organic Farming from a City Boy's Perspective
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Slow Starts

We have to tear down the high tunnel and get four hundred strawberry plants in the ground, then fifty plus blue berry bushes and then half-acre of lettuces and another half-acre of potatoes planted.  We had hoped to have half of the lettuces and some tomatoes already planted in the tunnel but when the tunnel came down everything stopped.  We were getting ready to plant inside the following week.  The Tuesday before planting it snowed, which in and of itself was not bad.  The fact that it caved the roof in was.

We now have a four ton twisted mess of steel to safely disassemble and pack into a roll-off trailer.  The operative word is “safe” given the different stress and tension points in the structure.  The high-tunnel was put together like an erector set.  There are thousands of bolts, nuts and screws to un-tighten.  However, there is the inherent danger of someone getting hurt if we are not careful when working around steal that has stress pressure.

Much like bucking a tree and cutting it up, you have to be aware of what part of the tree is under tension and where that tension is coming from.  Is tension coming from the top or tension pushing up from the bottom?  The way to cut each type depends on knowledge and the will to live a long life.  While cutting you can bind the saw or worse have the force of the wood under tension released towards you.  Basically, hurting or killing you, I do not know of any other options when that occurs.

Given the fact that we have to plant spring crops, we will have to split the crews with two planting and three tearing down.  I need to till the area for planting, at night, draw up the plant location and turn our most senior worker loose with her own help, while the rest of us safely bring down four ton of twisted metal and cut it up to fit in the roll-off bin.  The goal is to minimize air space and fill the bin, as tightly as possible with metal.  

At this time, you are probably thinking about insurance and if it was covered or not.  Yes, it is covered, they sent out the adjuster, and then a structural engineer and now the go-ahead to start de-construction has come.  No matter, we will suffer a loss because we insured the thing for less then it cost us to put up.  Do not ask I would just come out looking bad in the end if I answered.

If you have read our exploits, you know deconstruction is my forte.  Nevertheless, to do this crushes dreams we had.  I mean we were really looking forward to using the high tunnel to get the first tomatoes, or corn, strawberries and other crops earlier.  We were eating fresh Maryland tomatoes in  December so, we know what is was like to extend the growing season.  When the structure came down it brought with it a lot of plans and things we wanted to test.  Tomatoe for instance and rain.

My hypothesis is that acid rain would leave chemical residues on tomatoes and leaves outside (duh!), while tomatoes, using drip irrigation in the high tunnel would not.  The true evaluation for me would have been what is in the tomato itself.  What I really wanted to know is when compared do the tomatoes themselves have any levels of chemicals in them.  If so, what kind and how do the levels compare from the control group to the experimental group. 

The control group gets overhead watering naturally (outside) while drip irrigation at the base of the experimental plant (inside), comes from one of our four three-thousand gallon rain collection barrels.  At least that was the original test plan.  For now, we will table the idea and get to it at another time.  In the mean time:

Buy Local:  Food is life sustaining and growing is sustaining life.


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