Feeding and Caring for a High Tunnel
This is our second spring where we have offered an extended season. I hope that you don't mind that it continues to be a learning experience. It has been interesting growing fresh produce in a man-made, semi-controlled environment. One big thing we have learned though, is that the soil has not being fed enough yet.
The soil in the high tunnel started out not much differently than a parking area. We had to cut and fill to create a somewhat raised and level bed that drained well. The growing area was driven and walked on creating a compact surface of topsoil and subsoil.
Two plantings of cover crops, compost, organic fertilizer and minerals are not yet enough to satisfy the high tunnel's appetite. Providing enough nutrients for both fall and spring crops is a challenge that time will help solve. We will continue to build up the soil and create a healthy environment for growing food.
As pasta eaters we look for more ways than tomato sauce to enjoy it. Carbonara, a traditional combo of pasta, egg, cheese and bacon, is a perfect vehicle for vegetables too. Asparagus and gai lan are two examples of this.
1 lb of aparagus
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp vinegar or lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1 lb pasta, cooked
1 cup shredded cheese
Trim any tough bottoms off the asparagus. Toss whole spears in a bowl with the olive oil, vinegar and salt. Broil until tender and browned, 10-15 minutes. When cool enough, chop into one inch pieces.
Mix the eggs, cheese and cracked pepper in a bowl. Toss with pasta while hot, add asparagus. Serve with garnish of garlic chives.
One apparent success for the high tunnel has been the gai lan. Also known as Chinese broccoli, the idea for the vegetable came from Jan and Gary Glauberman. We tried growing it numerous times over the past 3 or 4 years, but have never seen it thrive.
This year, however, we have some beautiful plants. We are trialing this planting, so we will make sure everyone gets some to try. We like it when the members like something we can grow well. And it is a delicious vegetable.