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Low tunnels and another Summer Babies Update

Here's some of what we've been up to this week. After transplanting several hundred heads of lettuce over the weekend, we assembled some hoops to build a low tunnel over them. The hoops are simply lengths of thick coiled wire and are installed by jamming the ends into the sides of the bed.  

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The main function of the tunnel is to hold row cover over the plants, providing protection from the cold. Despite the absolutely glorious weather down here right now, it's still only February and very likely to freeze again. Pops and I have learned our lesson there, that's for sure. It is much, much easier on both body and mind to apply a row cover well before freezing weather becomes imminent. Set it, and forget it. 

Another nice thing about a low tunnel (as opposed to just flopping the row cover right on top of the plants, which is all we do for a lot of stuff) is that it allows the more delicate plants like lettuces to grow unimpeded, without distorting. We want big, fat, nicely shaped heads. The crops to the left of the hooped row are broccolis and greens that we'll cut from, so we're not too concerned about them needing hoops unless we get another freezing rain or ice weather event. Please cross your fingers we don't.

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Once the hoops are installed, we roll out the row cover, lay it over the hoops, and secure it with bricks. This is much easier said than done when the wind is blowing 30 mph. Securing or removing row cover is merciless on the quads and hammies, too, but hey, I welcome the side effects of that.

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Voila. Those guys ought to be ready to pick in just a few weeks! 

Yesterday, I took a peek at our tomato and pepper transplants. Here's what they've been through so far:

Their birthday

About 2 weeks old

And now, they look like this:

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Oh. Yeah. These guys will need to be potted on in just a few days, already! I'll bury them right up to the top set of leaves, tomatoes will root out all along their stem and that makes for a much stronger plant. I'll thin them down to just one per pot, too. I love handling tomato plants, they smell sooo good I just wanna rub my face in 'em. Someone needs to bottle it. 

The peppers are doing great too. Here's a variety of big jalapeños appropriately called "El Jefe". 

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And these are Padron pepper plants.

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Everybody's looking beautiful. T- about 4 weeks until they're in the ground! We'll keep ya posted!