Growing Season Extension

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Zasso Nouka
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Growing Season Extension

Postby Zasso Nouka » Wed Dec 02, 2015 7:04 am

As we got our first frost of the year the other day we've started covering fresh seedings of vulnerable vegetables. At the moment we're covering fresh plantings of salad crops and turnip but in late December through to February this will be extended to carrots seedings, zucchini, bush beans, peas and various other crops to give them a head start. Ideally a layer of black mulch will be laid down to help capture and hold onto heat from the day but with closely packed crops like salad, turnip and carrots it's not possible.

Here are some Mizuna, Rucola, Red Karashina that were seeded earlier and will be covered over the next few days

salad1.jpg
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First job is to lay out the seed bed and get it planted, then cover with horticultural fleece. I prefer to do it in sections as it is easier to remove that way rather than removing a huge length and possibly damaging young seedlings.

salad2.jpg
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The place your hoops over the row to support your covering of choice, for young seedlings and very vulnerable plants we use plastic sheeting. For less vulnerable plants fine mesh netting is used as that allows rain through and doesn't overheat.

salad3.jpg
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Next cover your rows and secure the vinyl/netting in place. You can either use the clips sold on home centres or Taneyasan's or the rolls of purpose made tape, the clips are good if you need to get into the mini tunnels regularly but can come off in high wind whereas the tape will generally hold in place during even the strongest wind, we use the tape.

salad4.jpg
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Long plastic pegs sold at home centres and Taneyasan's are used to secure the tape down. Go with whatever length suits your soil and weather conditions.

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Re: Growing Season Extension

Postby Zasso Nouka » Wed Dec 02, 2015 7:22 am

Here is the technique using black vinyl mulch for spring plantings of more widely spaced plants.

Same as before prepare your seed bed.

spring1.jpg
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And cover with mulch, we often lay a sprinkler hose down the centreline of the mulch for easy watering.

spring2.jpg
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Once you've planted your seeds through the mulch cover with the first layer of tunnelling.

spring3.jpg
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And then place a second larger over the first.

spring4.jpg
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This can give your plants around a 1 month head start.

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Re: Growing Season Extension

Postby Zasso Nouka » Wed Dec 02, 2015 8:47 am

The only problem is that one of our staff likes to sleep in the tunnels during the winter as it's nice and warm :doh:

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Re: Growing Season Extension

Postby gonbechan » Wed Dec 02, 2015 9:40 am

Your staff is just testing the efficiency of the tunnels.
This is a good example of active R&D

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Re: Growing Season Extension

Postby Zasso Nouka » Wed Dec 02, 2015 2:47 pm

Yes, his dedication to field research is exemplary :lol:

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Re: Growing Season Extension

Postby gonbechan » Wed Dec 02, 2015 5:25 pm

Zasso Nouka wrote:Yes, his dedication to field research is exemplary :lol:


samuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuui :D

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Re: Growing Season Extension

Postby paradoxbox » Wed Dec 02, 2015 8:58 pm

Awesome post! I have been 迷うing about whether to just let the field go green in winter or to put out some seedlings under nets or polytunnel and fleece or black mulch. I think this post is making me lean towards trying a few crops like carrots in limited rows - let's see what survives the winter!

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Re: Growing Season Extension

Postby Zasso Nouka » Thu Dec 03, 2015 6:49 am

Well Gonbechan, I can categorically state that he is really earnest in his duties and is never one to be laying down on the job :lol:

@Paradoxbox,

If you don't get much snow tunnels are an option but if you do then they can be crushed flat, the fibreglass poles I used there will generally pop back up after the snow has melted but the rigid hollow metal tube type will be useless after snow and bent out of shape. If you only get a light dusting then spacing the poles closer together can work sometimes.

Green manure/cover crops are fairly cheap, hairy vetch is around 500円 a kilo and Italian rye grass is slightly more expensive but still cheap.

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Re: Growing Season Extension

Postby Zasso Nouka » Thu Dec 03, 2015 6:59 am

Here are the some of the pegs you can get

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The hairpin one isn't recommended for winter use or when typhoons are expected and here are the metal hoops during February

tunnel1.jpg
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And some Wasabina inside

tunnel2.jpg
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Re: Growing Season Extension

Postby Zasso Nouka » Thu Dec 03, 2015 7:09 am

Here is about how much snow the rigid hoops can deal with

snowtunnel.jpg
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And here is an alternative securing method where the tape passes over the centre of the hoops and can mostly survive even the strongest wind, mostly. Depends on how deep the pegs have been driven in and it only works well with the rigid hoops not so well with the flexible fibreglass one as they shift in the wind.

tunnel3.JPG
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