Bracing For Another Round

Issued by The National Weather Service
State College, PA

Thu, Feb 24, 2011, 12:00 AM EST


Blah, Blah, Blah…

Don’t get me wrong, I do take storm warnings and watches seriously.  The plow is already on the truck, my fire pager is on, and the greenhouses have been inspected and buttoned up.  I think other than being tired of winter, we are ready for this next round of snow that Mother Nature is throwing our way.

The few warm days have really got my spring fever flared up. With a foot of snow on the ground and another 6-10 inches on the way, all hope is not lost.  Some people wait for the arrival of Turdus migratorius, the American Robin, to signal that spring is almost here.  I have a much better way to predict springs that springs on it way.  This morning on my way to work, I past a dead skunk in the road.  Hey, don’t judge me, you have your ways, I have mine.

On a serious note, spring is almost here.  I am going to use this last blast of winter to finish up my seed and plant orders and get ready for the busy planting season ahead.  If my skunk forecasting is wrong and winter stretches on a bit longer, I think a new puppy that got here last week and a new baby that will be here in a few more weeks, will keep me plenty busy.

PS… While I was typing this up I got up to let the dog out.  I tackled him before he got off the porch.  He was going after a skunk.

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High Tunnel Rabbit Damage


Repairs have been made to both the large and small tunnels, and I was even able to mend some fence before we were hit with the last blast of snow.  It was a bitter-sweet victory however, while working on the tunnels I discovered the latest round of attacks from the local rabbits.

Bramble DamageOur main crops are blackberries and raspberries.  The blackberry types that we planted last year produce fruit on the floricanes, or second year canes.  That means that the canes that grew last year will bear fruit this year.  Well that is, if they are still there.  We have both primocane and floricane fruiting raspberries but we will still take a big hit on this years harvest.  One interesting tidbit is that the rabbits were smart enough to leave the larger thorny blackberries somewhat intact.

Bramble We generally have not had a lot of pest damage through the growing season, but it has be a long winter so I guess the critters were getting hungry.  Installing bird netting is already in the list for spring, we will just put rabbit proofing on the pre-winter list.

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Snow In The High Tunnel

A popular way to insulate crops for overwintering in a tunnel is to bury them in snow.  This is especially helpful the further north you go.  It is a great idea and crops tend to emerge more vigorous in the spring, but it does take a lot of time to haul enough snow into the tunnel to make a difference.

I do not have the time to bury our blackberries, raspberries and other fruits in the snow but this morning I did have a layer of snow in our large tunnel.  We are under a high wind warning until around 21:00 tonight so I was inspecting the tunnel for damage.  So far so good, this time around.  The wind storm we had last week blew out one of my end panels so the tunnel is wide open, hence the snow.

I called up FarmTek where we bought the tunnel from, and they were very helpful.  They sent me a new zipper to repair my blowout and also emailed plans to modify the panel for use in a high wind area (that would be our area).  I went and picked up most of the stuff I need to modify the panel.  Now all I need is a nice calm day.  I will let you know how it goes….

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