The tomatoes in the high tunnel are reaching for the sky these days at long last.
I have waxed poetic about the Berry House – so named because this structure is perched on the western edge of Berry Garden, not because we’re growing berries inside – in past blog posts, but there’s something about the smell of hot tomato plants being watered in by well-laid drip irrigation tape that really makes it feel like a high tunnel at last. Here’s a photographic ode to the Berry House:
First, a photo from the archives, showing the farm before there was a Berry House or a windmill. Both now stand near the left edge of this photo from 2008:
This November, the Berry House went up over the course of two weeks with the help of maintenance and farm crews, along with Semester 51 students.
Snow fell all winter as the rye and vetch cover crop held fast to the soil inside the Berry House:
You can see the old hoophouse in the background of the photos above and below, one quarter of the size of the Berry House. The hoophouse will be fallowed this year; we’ve removed the plastic from it in order to flush out excess nutrients and salts that concentrate in the soil after years of amending without natural rainfall washing them away.
The covercrop shown below was tilled in and replaced by a variety of greens, including mizuna, kale, pac choi, sensopai, spinach, arugula, ruby streaks, and red mustards. We harvested 90 pounds of salad for the kitchen before turning the Berry House over to . . .
TOMATOES!! Amish Paste, Sun Gold, Black Cherry, Honeydrop, Principe Borghese, Orange Banana, Opalka, Mr. Fumarole, Cosmonaut Volkov, Black Prince, Goldie, and Pruden’s Purple: these varieties will grace our salads, soups, and sauces for months to come. Now comes the trellising and pruning, and . . . waiting. Here’s hoping we’re snacking on Sun Golds soon enough.