Greenhouse: Stymied but Not Defeated

Alternate title: Extortion

We got the frame mostly up for the greenhouse:

Greenhouse Frame

Shut down in early April (Cease and Desist) with threat of hefty fines. Government trespasser/intruder wants engineered plans, a greenhouse built fully to building codes for snow-load, plumbing, electricity, etc., with state licensed contractors and the works. They demand money (extortion), power and control.

A greenhouse for protecting tender young seedlings from deer and cold weather during the spring, not a living area for humans! But because I decided to attach it to the house, to allow air circulation with the house and cellar, they demand that it be “built to code”.

Better if I now stop this tirade about politics, government, control, extortion and oppressive power. I fear the government. Welcome to the USA, home of the free – if you’re rich enough…

Anyhow, I scrambled to put up this low tunnel for hardening off seedlings:

This low tunnel is 84′ long X 7′ wide and can hold 252 trays – just over half of what I’m producing this year. So far behind – the tunnel is only half full. Five days straight of cold, wet, near freezing temperatures last week. And high winds, with gusts of 50+ mph. But the tunnel held up will, with no frost damage.

Putting up about 6,000 seedlings of 800 or so varieties does not happen quickly with 1 person. Half the time is spent writing on the pot stakes. A good thermal transfer printer runs about $1K, something like this. It’s about time for another “splurge”, in the interest of saving time doing repetitive tasks that can easily be done by machine.

Still to come:

I have four wire racks going, set up with LED lights. In total, they can hold 80 trays. Monthly electric bill is predictable nearly five times what it was last summer.

It takes two days of potting up to fill up all these shelves, including some really late nights (4 a.m., 5 a.m…), and most of a full day to remove them all, get them thoroughly watered, and organized into the low tunnel.

High winds (imagine dealing with perlite in windy conditions), cold wet weather, urgent potting up to do, so I moved the entire operation indoors. It’s highly unlikely that anybody else could tolerate my seedlings and messes taking over the kitchen, bathroom, office, and now even the living room. My seeds have a room of their own. I’m alone for more than one reason…

Seed Germination Tests – lots of useful and interesting numbers to report once data collection is complete; i.e., after all potting up is completed.

Now who was it that told me deer don’t eat garlic leaves?

Garlic eaten by mule deer

Wasabi plants are growing well in the cool cellar under a metal halide light; but I don’t expect any return on investment for a few years. None of the turmeric or ginger has germinated. I don’t have a warm place to keep these tropical plants – something like a greenhouse, perhaps??).

Horseradish is growing just fine – seems to like this cool weather.

Wild Radish has been growing like crazy, but only in protected areas or where I’ve watered. It’s been too dry on most spots of the property. The leaves are quite tasty – not as strong as arugula, tender leaves, only slightly pungent, roots are very thin and fibrous – not edible. Maybe I’ll save some more seeds this year.

An interesting denizen: Jerusalem Cricket, (likely Stenopelmatus fuscus) Not likely to be a major pest, so let it be.

So much more, but I need to get back to potting up. Or sleeping, maybe…

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