Make your own free website on

Cliff's Grower Log -- Preseason ramblings... 2004

February 10

Here are my hoophouse measurements, which worked so well last year:

- the top rail of the structure was 12 feet long (can go 16 or more)
- the top rail was 54 inches off the ground
- 6 PVC pipes were used as hoops, 29 inches apart
- PVC pipes were 18 feet long
- used those giant paper clips to hold the plastic in place and for access into the structure

This year, I plan to do the same two hoophouses as last year, and additionally I will build three dome shaped structures. These will have a center post, and have three long PVC pipes that create a hexagonal shaped dome. Possibly, I could go with 4 pipes. Well, this is still in the design phase!

Seed Plans

There will be five sites. I plan to start a primary plant, and a backup for each. At the moment, these five seeds are in (subject to change, of course):

For backups, perhaps I'll just start a bunch. 255 and 332 Warren, 337 Card, 691 Michalec, another 666 Sawtelle, and probably the 831 Zunino. The 995 Carter could also be included.

February 16

Last evening I went out to my patch, on cross-country skis! But then last night we had a dramatic warm-up. This is the first "break" in the weather since we had a huge snowstorm on Dec. 26th. Looks like the warmer temps predicted for this week are going to melt all our snow. Boy am I looking forward to that!

March 1

It's March. There is still 6 inches of snow outside and it is 16 degrees F here at 9:30am. We had been down to almost no snow, other than the big piles. But we had another big storm last Saturday... lots of thick wet snow. Looks like I won't need to mow my lawn in mid-March like I've done in some years.

March 8

We might actually break 50 degrees today. There are still patches of snow on the ground, and in the best case scenario it would still be at least a week before I can apply gypsum and more organic matter and start plowing. This winter has been awesome. It should go a long way toward getting us back on track as far as having water throughout the year.
I found out that my (new) tractor is a 1951 Ford 8N. This will make my patch prep soooo much easier, if I can ever get into the patch! Pictures coming soon.

March 17

We've settled into a pattern of highs in the 50's and lows in the 20's to lower 30's. Yesterday I added a little gypsum to the patch and plowed the patch and the entire garden.

Patch prep got you worn out? Get one of these! ;-)

Happy pumpkin growers use these...

Ah, I still will need to do some "double-digging", by hand. But this tractor is very handy to mix in the amendments and organic matter.

March 24

Ah, I got some great news. A fellow who lives nearby is an excavator, and has all the equipment to do small jobs on the side. He is going to bring me 15 to 18 yards of well composted manure, delivered for $60. This will will be a great benefit to my soil!

March 31

You're lookin' live!!!.....

Hmmm... a little fresher than I expected. an 18-yard dump of manure. The only drawback is that it's a little fresher than I would have hoped for. But my garden is so large it will end up being spread pretty thin, and I can water a lot to reduce the salts. This fall I'm going to have 36 yards brought in.

Next up,... April!


Cliff Warren