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News and Notes
from the Field

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December 17, 2017
Winter Solstice Greens
Notes From The Field
By Derek McGeehan

Above, this is our "heated" greenhouse, temperature set in the low 30s. You can see me in the background attempting to light the pilot flame after half a year off (process takes about 30 minutes). It's probably unnecessary to add heat, but we're using this structure as a way to compare minimally heated indoor winter growth to other tunnels that aren't supplementally heated at night. This is the structure where we start our seedlings in late winter for spring transplanting and we already have the heating unit in place, so it makes some sense to observe growth where lows only bottom out around 32-34 versus 24-26 in the unheated buildings.
In the unheated tunnels we add big hoops and floating row cover on the inside to trap warmth closer to plants (sometimes we also trap kids like below, or they sneak under). Another cold test came and went last week. After a few more nights in the teens and a couple of days where temperatures stayed below freezing, including one that was cloudy, uncovering the plants Sunday revealed healthy and robust greens. It's always a little unnerving to deal with below average winter cold, but after additional experience I'm really feeling confident in appropriate plants' ability to tolerate winter weather and provide us with healthy greens all winter. Thank you plants, seriously!

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