Okay. Again, I kind of try to avoid the “hey, look what I can grow!” bragging, but…you know my secret desire for all of you to become greenhouse/hoophouse/high tunnel/polytunnel owners. And as another form of encouragement, I give you 2.75 lb. Big Buddha.
This is a Brandywine tomato. I put all the big tomatoes in the greenhouse this year, and all the paste tomatoes outside in the gardens. My rationale is this: even though they grow well for me outside, I figured the big tomatoes would love life indoors even more. Outdoors, see, I practice Tough Love. I never water outdoor tomatoes (we usually have rain anyway) and my only maintenance of the outdoor ones is to hack them down and tie them up, and mulch, and maybe pick off a tomato hornworm or two; except for harvesting, I completely ignore them. This lack of water means I have nice nonjuicy tomatoes, which is what I want for paste anyway. In the greenhouse? Water every 3-4 days, some tying up, no mulch. More fawning attention, more love. I even have been known to talk to these plants!
Big Buddha isn’t really that big. This is a typical 4x/week harvest from the greenhouse.
And I have been rewarded. Everything is growing so well in there: peppers especially. The big tomatoes in the greenhouse are huge this year. And, unlike previous outdoor years of catfaced, only-a-mother-can-love-them big tomatoes, the greenhouse ones have been uniformly perfect. Scarily uniformly State Fair blue ribbon-winner perfect. Not that I am bragging.
Again, I tell you this to goad you: it’s not look what I can do, it’s look what YOU can do…
- see link above Greenhouses, Etc., all posts labeled “greenhouse” and:
- D.I.Y. hoophouse from Mother Earth News
- Portable hoophouse
- Eliot Coleman’s low tunnels at MOFGA
- The place I got my greenhouse kits
- The place I got my rowcovers (Reemay, season extension)
- and, above all, the book to get you going
But, but… what do you DO with so many pounds of those big, juicy, delicious to eat but not so great for canning tomatoes? Farm stand?
Salsa, lady! Salsa and I do can some lovely juice from these things. And then I do can them sliced with onions. And then, well, I do give a few away…
Lovely! Just lovely! If I had the space, I would be all over that hoophouse idea.
I’m so there! Eliot Coleman has changed my life and I don’t even have the greenhouse yet. I completely understand your desire to share the news. But, I am trying to get one ordered by early fall. Here’s hoping…
I’ve been pondering this exact thing for one of our beds. I think I am going to go the homemade route with pvc pipe and plastic. Our season has been so late here I may need to step up the plans and build a hoophouse over the tomato bed in situ in the hopes of getting more than 3 ripe tomatoes this season. We will see how that works out I guess. Off to CraigsList to search for used pvc! Thanks for the links.
Okay, now you’re just being cruel. I’ve already figured I’ll have to stop reading you this winter b/c of that damn greenhouse! 😉
Hey Taylor, just do a little season extension then, with a cold frame. You could also do a really simple covering with plastic, or simply the agricultural cloth (Reemay). I did that, a couple of years back…I got salad stuff in it through December, under snow!
Kathy, crossing my fingers for you then. I know some folks actually appreciate the break from gardening that winter gives, but…I’m not one of them 😉
Maya! That’s the spirit. If it helps, I believe my UV (sun-resistant) grade conduit, 10′ lengths, was $1.70 per. You could probably make a small one for under $40 at a big-box store.
Ah, Angie: don’t tune out! I really am done with the gloating. It’s just been such a fun process, learning what I can do with the chance to dig dirt year-round.
As you know, I live on the great plains of MI. Extreme wind in the winter. How does your greenhouse handle the wind?
Alecto: woot! One sale down…many more to go.
Hey again, Angie. Well, the first greenhouse (16’w x 20’l) is jutting off the side of a building that shelters it from the prevailing western off-the-lake winds, so its problem is snow drift. It catches a lot of snow. (Snow, structurally, is the bigger problem of the two things.) The other greenhouse will be freestanding, 16’w x 28’l and it has corner bracing. It’s fairly windy here too and we see a lot of these kinds of greenhouse structures all over. It’s also why I chose to buy a commercial kit as opposed to DIY! I could go on and on about what wind does to buildings and what snow does to buildings…let’s just say I am not at all worried about this thing up and blowing away on me 😉 But the key really is corner stability and support. A nice squared braced frame shouldn’t go anywhere.
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I bow to you and Big Buddha. All hail king of the tomatoes !
Leslie, I swear it was you I was thinking of, how you would blow the socks off the competition at the Fair. Pig feed or no! (You still grow the best-looking garlic of anyone I know.)