Hoop House Construction Halted

Reader Contribution by K.C. Compton
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This structure might look a little unsightly to the casual observer, particularly in its current unfinished state. To me, it’s gorgeous because it represents … TOMATOES!!! Lots and lots of tomatoes. 

My neighbor, Ken Krause, has studied the market, tested the waters and jumped in to the heirloom tomato business this spring. The hoop house (also known as a high-tunnel greenhouse, I believe) will give him a jump-start on the tomatoes’ life-cycle, free of disruption by Kansas’ wacky spring and early summer weather. Aforementioned weather can include, but is not limited to, snow, sleet, wind, frost, hot sun, and rain that dumps out of the sky all at once instead of pattering gently on the landscape.

It was the latter that has kept the hoop house in this state of construction for more than a week. Last Thursday the skies opened and, off and on for several hours, “rain bands” whooshed through. They seemed more like flood bands because they absolutely drenched the landscape, then drenched it again and again.

I should have taken some photos the next day but I would have had to wear hip waders.  The row boat, which is usually moored on a little dock on the north side of the big pond, ended up in the second row of trees in the orchard – on the south side of the pond. 

What this meant for the hoop house project was essentially a standstill because the ground was so soaked that even a ladder would sink into the muck – and don’t even think about what the cherry-picker would do in all that mud and mire. 

The weather’s given us a little break this week, however, and the guys are supposed to be back today to finish putting the plastic over the high tunnel’s ribs. Good thing – a couple hundred little baby tomato plants arrived yesterday and they won’t live forever on top of Nancy’s big freezer.

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