St. Olaf Garden Research and Organic Works

The Greenhouse Saga Continues...

...this time with a happy ending!

After the last greenhouse from FarmTek was such a piece of junk, the STOGROW farmers were about ready for something to go well. Like I mentioned in the last post, Nancy Hollinger put me in contact with Liz Crombie at Poly-Tex, and the rest was a breeze. We're almost glad that the mess with FarmTek happened because the situation Poly-Tex was just that much better in comparison! Not only did they give us a discount because of the St. Olaf connection, they shipped it for free and we were able to support a business just miles from the farm instead of somewhere in Iowa. The instructions were clear and uncomplicated, but we probably could have set it up without them because the GH was designed so well.

Assembling the structure only required wire cutters, a ladder, and tape measure. The steel part of the GH mainly used a system of nylon washers and wingnuts, and the plastic attached to the house using a fantastic contraption called "wiggle wire" (thank you Mr. Wiggle!) that fastens the plastic into a groove but can be removed, adjusted, and makes it easy to replace or tighten sections of plastic.

Our model is 10'x18' and about 9' high. We moved the plants from Nancy's into their new home and will move the plants from the Science Center greenhouse on Monday.

Again, I can't recommend Poly-Tex enough if you want to purchase a greenhouse kit in MN. You won't be put on hold when you have questions, you'll be able to talk to a real human being (a nice one, too!), and the structures are solid and American made.

In other news, we purchased some pepper, tomato, and eggplant transplants from Lansing Hardware store. Due to the cold night a few weeks ago, our transplant numbers for those three veggies were a bit low, and the transplants (especially the tomatoes) were looking a little weak, so we decided to boost our numbers. It was kind of an expensive business move, but we figured that once harvest time comes around, a $1.29 tomato transplant will pay for itself, more than a non-existent plant would anyway.

Farming during finals proved to be somewhat challenging - Dan and I both had huge papers and projects that we couldn't ignore for the more important work of gardening. : ) However, this abnormally rainy weather gave us a reprieve since there wasn't much we could do during thunderstorms. Next year, however, we'll have to think of a different plan - if it's sunny during finals next year, we won't want to get behind. Maybe our profs will just let us hand everything in after the summer... They'll go for it, right? : )

Plans for the upcoming weeks - Tilling up both plots, direct seeding lettuce mix/carrots/beets/spinach/beans, building some work tables for outside of the greenhouse, getting the transplants in the ground, and establishing a more permanent place for our tools. Also, we're going to have an admin day pretty soon to figure out the more picky paper work, i.e. paying our employee, paying ourselves, how Bon Appetit will pay our account, working schedules, volunteer work days, Farmer's Market stuff.

BIG THANKS TO: Chris Mueller and Curtis Frank for building the GH with us, rain and all.


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