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Food, Seeds, Cover Crops, Cut Flowers, Soil Building.
In colder zones growers use the summer hoophouse for all those hot weather crops that struggle outdoors! But if you can already grow melons, limas, okra outside, you may be left wondering how to make good use of that valuable covered space when it’s hot. As well as heat-loving crops, this presentation discusses cooling the hoophouse; using the opportunity to tackle soil-borne diseases or improve the soil and other uses like seed drying and storage.
What’s in this presentation
Ways to to make good use of your hoophouse when it’s hot
o Storage, remove plastic, move hoophouse, increase airflow, add shade.
o Growing summer crops -
Crop scheduling and rotations
o Grow crops
– Warm weather food crops
– Cut flowers
– Seed crops
– Cover crops
o Cure or dry crops
o Improve the soil
Warm weather pests including nematodes
Resources and my contact info
I live and farm at Twin Oaks Community, in central Virginia.
We’re in zone 7, with an average last frost April 30 and average first frost
October 14. Our goal is to feed our intentional community of 100 people with a
wide variety of organic produce year round.
Our Hoophouse at Twin Oaks
• We have one 30’ x 96’ FarmTek ClearSpan gothic arch hoophouse.
• We put it up in 2003, and like many growers we had the primary
goal of growing more winter greens, early tomatoes and peppers.
• Our hoophouse is divided lengthwise into five 4’ beds and a 2’
bed along each edge.
• Our paths are a skinny 12” wide - maximum growing space.
• “What to do with the hoophouse in summer?” a fine problem!
Farm storage and non-farming uses
• If none of the above options fit your plans, use the
space for dry storage until September. It’s probably a
good idea to put a tarp over plastic items to slow the
• Dry your laundry! Store kids’ yard toys. Install cots
over the beds and sleep there!
Remove the plastic? Move the
hoophouse? Increase airflow
The plastic could be pulled part way down the north side and tied up along
the hipwall, rolled up and covered in black plastic until fall, in the manner
of the Haygrove seasonal use tunnels.
Removing the plastic through the summer is one of the recommended
ways to deal with salt build-up in the soil (more later).
Move the hoophouse, by building
it on sleds or wheels. That doesn’t
answer the question of what to do
with the space, it just moves the
If you keep the plastic in place,
increase airflow using big vents
and roll-up or drop-down sides.
We don’t have separate sidewalls -
our primary goal is to keep the
space warm for winter crops.
• Kool Lite Plus plastic. Reflects back the InfraRed, UltraViolet
and Green parts of the spectrum, leaving the hoophouse
about 10F cooler in hot weather, while keeping it just as
warm as InfraRed blocking plastic on cool overcast days.
Costs almost twice as much as IR/anti-condensate plastic.
• Relatively new Solaroof material, a four-layer woven
material which diffuses the light and reduces over-heating.
See the Robert Marvel website.
• Another newer plastic is SolaWrap, aka
Polydress, Poly Keder – bubblewrap on
steroids. Effect of double poly without
electricity. 10 Year Warranty.
Diffusion: Up to 83%
• I have not tried any of these.
Shade the plastic
• From mid May until early-mid September, we cover our hoophouse with a
single large piece of shade cloth.
• Shadecloth lets crops thrive later into the summer than they otherwise
would, and lets the crew harvest in there without dying.
• More pleasant to stand in the hoophouse under the shade cloth than to be
outside in the sun.
• Possible to grow crops such as lettuce mix that are harvested young and
don’t get the chance to bolt. The hoophouse conditions help these crops
Our shadecloth is 34’ x 96’, about
the same size as the footprint of the
hoophouse, knitted polyethylene
50% shade from Gemplers, $372 in
Shadecloth is available
Woven or knitted: knitted fabric is
stronger, lighter in weight, more
flexible, and doesn’t unravel when
Polyethylene, PVC or polypropylene:
Polypro is longer lasting, but only
available woven. Avoid PVC as it will
degrade the poly sheeting of the
In a range of shade factors. 40% is
recommended for vegetables, 50%
for flowers and 60% for cool weather
vegetables in hot weather.
White, black or other colors
• Clip-on grommets (from Gemplers)
every 2’ along each long edge.
• Large hooks every 2’ along the base
boards on the north and south sides;
ropes threaded through the
• Early-mid-May - It takes 4 of us an
hour to put it on.
• We throw over a tennis ball in a sock
tied to a rope, or a plastic flip-flop
sandal, and then pull the shade cloth
over. Much easier than putting on
• Set the shadecloth lower on the
south side than the north.
• Feed the ropes along through the
grommets until the shade cloth
hangs evenly and hook it on.
• Removing it in mid September takes
30-40 minutes with 3 or 4 people
Growing summer crops
Remember to keep your fall planting dates and crop rotations
in mind, especially if the winter greens and salads are the main
purpose of the hoophouse.
Essentially we have 3 crop seasons in our hoophouse:
1. winter crops planted in the fall (See my slideshow Fall and Winter Hoophouses)
2. early warm weather crops planted in March and April,
3. high summer crops planted in July.
The bulk of our winter crops are planted from mid- September
• In our first couple of years we grew 2 beds each of early
tomatoes and peppers, and then added in ½ bed of hot peppers
and a bed of late tomatoes. Clearly this is a lot of nightshades –
5 ½ beds out of 7! We’ve cut back to 2 beds of early tomatoes, 1
of bell peppers and hot peppers. It’s still quite a lot of
nightshades – almost half of our growing space.
• We don’t grow nightshades in the same bed two years running.
We haven’t got a regular rotation.
• We work out an ad-hoc plan for each year, juggling rotation,
timing, height and shading. We look at the sequence of crops.
• Because everything happens faster in a hoophouse, we are
growing multiple crops in each bed each year.
• We hope that the part of the year spent growing other crops
contributes to a speeded up version of the time needed away
from that crop in an outdoor rotation.
Hoophouse planting schedule, March
Date. Bed. Row ft. # rows. Space. Variety. How many? Height?
Early warm weather crops
• We transplant tomato, pepper, squash and
cucumber plants in the middles of the beds
4-6 weeks before the last frost date.
• With this plan in mind, we harvest the winter
crops from the centers of the beds first, and
plant the early summer crops
• Then we harvest the greens on the south side
which are blocking the light from the new
• Later we harvest the old crops on the north
side, before they are impacting the new crop.
• The other spring crops we grow are early
dwarf snap peas (sown 2/1) and bush beans
• The cucumbers and peas finish in mid July,
the squash and tomatoes at the end of July.
We keep our peppers through the summer
until cold weather arrives (November).
Corona pepper. Credit Kathryn Simmons
High summer crops
• Summer crops have from mid July at
the earliest to early November at the
latest, to be in the ground, to fit in
with our all-important winter and
• We can only grow crops that mature
quickly, unless we either give up some
space from our spring/early summer
crops, or our fall/early winter crops, or
get very creative!
• An example of being creative might be
growing a tall trellised crop in the
northernmost bed, and planting a
ground-hugging winter crop below it.
Cowpeas in the hoophouse. Credit Kathryn Simmons
Warm weather food crops
Lady Bell sweet pepper.
Credit Kathryn Simmons
• Suitable candidates
– crops you’d like earlier
– crops that grow in warmer climates
– crops that grow better in drier
– ideally, crops that are not in the
same families as your main crops
in other seasons.
• Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant,
cucumbers, squash and zucchini,
melons, early green beans, cowpeas,
soup beans, edamame, baby ginger,
turmeric, galangal, jicama (yam bean),
• We grow only early
tomatoes in our hoophouse.
• We start them 1/24, grow
them on a heating mat,
• We transplant in the
hoophouse 3/15, after
clearing winter crops from
the bed middles.
• We harvest them from the
very end of May to the end
• Our maincrop outdoor
tomatoes are sown 3/15,
planted out 5/2 (average
last frost 4/20). We harvest
those from July until frost.
Young tomato plant. Credit Kathryn Simmons
• We keep sweet peppers
growing in our hoophouse
from April 1 till November.
• We use Florida string
weaving, but you could train
them up twine if you prune
• A good place to grow
unusual hot peppers! Fewer
different people harvest in
our hoophouse, compared
to outdoors, so unusual
varieties do better, as
there's less chance of them
being harvested at the
Baby black snakes control hornworms,
• Outdoors we keep eggplant
under rowcover until they
flower, to keep fleabeetles off,
but because the hoophouse is
warmer, we tried without
rowcover. Crop failure! So,
eggplant can work, if you guard
• Eggplant can be pruned and
trained up twine, if you want a
Eggplant. Credit Kathryn Simmons
We usually grow one row of early bush cucumbers,
sown 3/1, transplanted 4/1.
Tomatoes, squash and cucumbers Credit Twin Oaks Community
West Indian gherkins
• I first saw these unusual
pickling cucumbers at
Monticello. The origin of the
variety is uncertain, but the
seed was probably brought
to Virginia by people
enslaved by Thomas
• West Indian Gherkins are
very heat tolerant and
• They are resistant to Peanut
Root Knot Nematodes,
which is why we started
Photo Nina Gentle
West Indian Gherkins
• These gherkins do not cross
with regular cucumbers, nor
with watermelon (although the
leaves resemble watermelon
• We trellis them in our
hoophouse (they are very
sprawling long vines, left to
their own devices.)
• We harvest one end of the row
for pickling and one end for
• We sow 3/31, transplant 4/21,
harvest picklers starting 6/12
and pick the seed crop 9/28 –
• Photo Bridget Aleshire
Squash and zucchini
Our goal is earliness, so
we choose a fast-maturing
variety. Gentry summer
squash, sown 3/1,
transplanted 4/1 in the
center of a bed of Bulls
Blood beets. Note wire
hoop for night time
rowcover on cold nights.
Credit Kathryn Simmons
• We tried late melons our first
summer, but they didn’t do well.
• We sowed the melons
(cantaloupe and watermelons) in
pots 6/1 and transplanted 7/1
• They failed because the earlier
yellow squash and cucumber
plants had enticed in lots of
striped cucumber beetles and the
melon transplants got gobbled up
before they grew their 4th leaf.
(Demonstrating once again the
importance of crop rotation!)
Delicious 51 Muskmelon and Crimson Sweet
Virginia Select watermelon. Credit Southern
Exposure Seed Exchange
Early green beans
We choose an upright bush variety, such as Strike, and sow
3/15. We harvest from 5/9. We clear them 6/15. We have
found the edge beds too cold for beans, so if the rotation
would put the beans in one of those, as it did this year, we
forsake beans and sow something else (beets for example)
Photo credit Kathryn Simmons
• Fresh baby ginger sells at $9-
• A yield of 8:1is good. 4:1 is
poor. You could get 17:1
• It needs a heated space from
mid-March to mid-May, while
the plants are young.
• You can save the highest
yielding, good shaped roots for
next year’s Mother Roots.
• To overwinter ginger, it must
remain planted in soil/media
and soil temps should not fall
below 54-57°F (12-14°C).
Below 50°F the roots will die.
Ginger in the hoophouse.
Credit Kathryn Simmons
Virginia State University is
working on tissue cultured ginger
to supply planting material
• Calculate how much to buy. Rate is
about 30 lbs per 100 feet, with one
seed piece every 5” (250 pieces,
allowing 10% extra).
• Seed pieces are about 3-4” with a
bud/eye/node, and average 2oz.
each. Each hand has 4-8 pieces.
• Start in mid-March in zone 7. Wipe off
any surface mold. Cut mother roots
into pieces, each with a bud. Cut at a
branching place. Keep out of direct
• Cure for 1 week at 55-90°F to seal the
Photo Credit Kathryn Simmons
Pre-sprouting ginger roots in crates
Photo credit East Branch Ginger
• March 24-April 1 - When buds are
obvious, plant in shallow crates or
plastic seed flats. 250 pieces at 21
pieces per flat = 12 flats. Compost with
pH 5.5-6.7. 2-3”deep, not more, it does
not need full coverage.
• Keep at 70-80°F (night min in high 40’s)
in a warm germination chamber. Can
stack pre-leafing to save space, but flats
will then need a shelf each.
• Don’t overwater. Growth is slow until
conditions warm up.
• April 7ish - When leaves emerge (one
week?), move crates out into well-lit
greenhouse for 4-5 weeks. Use a tent
inside the greenhouse?
• Consider pre-warming the hoophouse
bed now, using black plastic, rowcover
or plastic low tunnels.
Planting ginger in the hoophouse
• May 10 - When hoophouse soil is 55°F and
rising (check first thing in the morning),
transplant at 5” in-row, rows 24” apart.
• Ginger grows OK in the shade of other plants,
it does not like extreme heat.
• Dig a 4” trench, add compost, position seed
pieces, cover with 1” soil, not more. Protect
from frost. Don’t overwater early on.
• Ginger is day-length sensitive so it is
important to plant during this window.
• The hands all grow oriented in the same
direction. Ginger grows out & up into the hill.
• After 4-6 weeks, when base of shoots turn
bright pink (poke under the soil to see) feed
and hill the roots with 2-4” soil.
• Yields will be lower if you do not to hill or
fertilize. Check for signs of hunger throughout
the season: leaf tip burn, yellowing leaves,
slow shoot growth early in the season, slow
rhizome growth later in the season, leaves not
The ginger growing season
• From July, once it is growing fast, water
daily. If foliage curls slightly in the early
afternoon then it needs to be watered
• Feed and hill again 3 times more (every 2-
4 weeks) whenever roots are visible, with
2-3” soil. If no more soil is available, use
mulch. Eventual hilling totals about 12”.
• The most common diseases are Fusarium
and bacterial wilts.
• Watch out for pests, especially cutworm,
katydids and grasshoppers.
• 4 months from sprouting - It is possible to
start harvesting baby ginger. Yields could
be 3.5#/row ft. You’ll get more if you wait. Ginger.
Photo Kathryn Simmons
Photo credit East Branch Ginger
• Harvest early to Mid-October (5
months after sprouting) before the soil
temperature cools to 50-55°F. Baby
Ginger has bright pink bud scales.
These turn purple and hard over time.
• For fresh sales, dig as needed. Dig and
lift roots carefully.
• Wash the roots using a hose. They have
no skin so they can get scratched and
damaged relatively easily. Trim off
foliage half inch or more long.
• Next let the roots dry for an hour or
two, out of direct sunlight.
• Refrigeration (34-45F) will turn ginger
rubbery. OK to use for cooking,
pickling, or candying another day, when
rubbery is okay.
Turmeric and Galangal
• Other tropical root crops.
• Turmeric is not hilled. The
rhizomes grow out and slightly
downwards so will only need
hilling an inch or two if the
rhizomes appear above the
soil during growth.
• It needs less feeding than
• Turmeric contains curcumins,
which have valuable medicinal
• Planting rate is 6" between
seed pieces. 10-16 pieces per
• Galangal (guh-lang-guh) looks
like ginger but with a piney
citrus flavor. Qualla Berry Farm
Freshly harvested Turmeric, Photo
• Jicama, a crunchy tuber, is not a
quick-maturing crop, but it is
vining and we grew it at the
“back” (=north side), where it
would not shade anything.
• We came to the conclusion that
we did not have hot enough
conditions for long enough. If
you are in zone 8 or 9, you might
• Seeds are available from
Pinetree, and Baker Creek, who
warn: “Takes a very long season,
these must be started very early
in all areas except the deep
south. Caution: the seeds and
pods are poisonous”.
• We tried peanuts (sown 7/1), in our
hoophouse, but they didn’t produce
• Perhaps they were too hot and dry,
perhaps the soil was not fertile or
loose enough, perhaps the voles
• They have potential to be a good
• Peanuts can grow OK outdoors
where we are in central Virginia, and
they take about 120 days, so we
decided they didn’t deserve the
• In general, we have found legumes
to be a good group of summer
hoophouse food crops for us.
Carwiles Virginia peanut.
Credit Southern Exposure Seed
• A useful high summer crop, cowpeas
can be sown later than outdoors, to
provide a succession following on
from outdoor crops or for seed or
dry soup beans.
• We sow in mid-June to mid-July,
when we pull up our early warm-
weather crops such as cucumbers,
early tomatoes and squash.
• We can harvest to eat in late
September through early October.
• Or keep for seed beans in late
October/early November - This is
just when we want to transplant our
winter salads and greens.
Mississippi Silver cowpeas.
Credit Kathryn Simmons
• We like Mississippi Silver and
• We sow 2 rows in a 4’ bed in
• We install a 5’ stake each
side of the planting every 6-
10 feet, and use twine every
foot up the stakes in a
modified single-sided Florida
weave to make a “corral”
around the planting.
A July sowing of Carolina Crowder
peas in our hoophouse. Photo
Cowpea string-weaving cats cradle
How we support the cowpeas in our hoophouse. Photo Nina Gentle
Black Turtle beans. Credit Southern Exposure
• We’ve also had good results
with shelling beans (soup
beans). We grew King of the
Early, sown 7/13 and
harvested from late
September - mid October,
when we let the last pods
dry out for seed.
• We don’t like putting up big
trellises, so we now choose
bush type beans. Bush
varieties also allow the
sunlight to better reach the
north side of the house.
• Humid climates and September
hurricanes can make for ugly spotty
bean pods outdoors in late
• Growing them in the hoophouse
means beautiful pods. This matters
particularly for edamame, where
the diners see the pods.
• Edamame have the advantage of
being a crop that is picked all at
once –you do not want a crop that
requires slow daily harvesting in
high summer in your hoophouse,
unless you live in the far north.
• We like Envy edamame, a short
bush type that matures quickly. We
sow July 27 and harvest October 4-
13, or November 9 for seed.
Envy edamame. Credit Kathryn Simmons
• Research is being done at Virginia State University and elsewhere.
Hoophouses can boost production, and improve quality. See the Association
for Specialty Cut Flower Growers and other resources listed.
• Flowers grown in hoophouses are protected from battering winds, rain, deer
and to some extent Japanese beetles.
• In the south east, in the period from July to September, cut flowers can be
• You can have Campanula blooming at the end of July.
• Campanula latifolid — Photo: monteregina
• Hoophouses can be a great
place to grow seed crops.
• According to Nancy Bubel, in
the Seed Starter’s Handbook,
bean seed usually matures 6
weeks after the beans were
tender and good to eat, and
are ready when your teeth
can scarcely make a dent in a
sample bean. It seems to me
that maturing happens faster
in a hoophouse.
Queen Anne cowpea seed crop.
Credit Southern Exposure Seed Exchange
Reasons to grow seed crops
• On the east coast it is hard to grow “dry” seed crops
- legumes, lettuce, spinach, beets (as opposed to
“wet” seed crops inside fruits, like tomatoes,
melons), because of the humidity and rainfall.
• Inside a hoophouse the hotter air can hold more
water without causing damp plants. Additionally, the
walls of the hoophouse provide a partial physical
barrier to prevent cross-pollination.
• Seed growing could become an important income
opportunity for organic growers, as it is an
expanding market. Contact small local seed
More on seed crops
• You could start by growing one or two seed crops for yourself.
Growing seed for use on your own farm is valuable, as you can
select plants that grow especially well on your farm, and save on costs.
• When you are ready to grow a commercial seed crop, contact seed
companies before the start of the season, to agree a contract. Southern
Exposure Seeds, my neighbors and our sister community, contracts with
many small seed growers. They have a wealth of information to support
their growers, with a Seed Growers Guide for many of the families of
crops. See the Resources section.
• Read up about seed-growing, and the isolation distances required for
your particular crop. Cucurbits need as much as ¼ mile from other
flowering plants of the same type, whereas tomatoes only need 180’.
• Grow a large enough population of plants to ensure genetic diversity.
With self-pollinators (in-breeders) such as beans, 20 plants may be
enough, but for out-breeders (cross-pollinators), 100 are needed, in
order to avoid in-breeding depression.
• Hoophouse growing burns up the organic matter in
the soil at a fast rate. If you don't need to grow
another cash crop in the summer, you could grow
cover crops to replenish the organic matter, ready for
your next fall plantings.
• Short term, manageable, fast-growing cover crops are
what are needed,
– Clovers are too slow.
– Winter cereal grains won't grow in the summer.
– Beware of huge hot weather grain crops, like
• Buckwheat, soy, cowpeas and the shorter millets all
• Because of harlequin bugs, we avoid growing brassicas
as cover crops, but if you don't have this pest,
brassicas may be a good choice, as they have a
biofumigation effect on the soil, tackling some soil-
borne diseases. But on the other hand, if you grow
lots of winter greens, brassica cover crops might be a
poor idea, even without Harlequin bugs.
Southern Exposure Seed
Drying and curing
• Dry seed crops grown outside, luffas, or flowers or ornamental grasses
for winter arrangements, (experiment first to make sure they don’t
bleach too much in the sun, or use thick brown paper bags).
• To cure onions or garlic in your hoophouse shade heavily (80%), so that
you can be sure the temperature won’t go above 90F - they cook.
• Some growers use hoophouses in the fall to cure winter squash or sweet
potatoes. We don’t do that because we are very actively planting in the
hoophouse in October when the bulk of our winter squash come in.
(Actually we don’t cure them at all). Sweet Potatoes need temperatures
of 80-95F to cure, and need to stay above 55F even for storage. Our
nights get too cold for keeping sweet potatoes in our hoophouse.
Garlic and onions curing in a shaded
hoophouse. Credit Southern Exposure
• If you have pests or diseases in your
winter crops, and can live without use of
your hoophouse for a month you could
close up the whole house, and let the
soil heat up to kill off bugs and fungal
spores. Or cover a bed with clear plastic.
• Control is generally obtained down to 6”.
For best results, grow a mustard crop
just before your planned solarization,
and incorporate the residues, which will
act as a pesticide. Cook for 6 hot weeks.
• Ideally, prepare the bed before
solarization, to minimize disturbance of
the soil after solarizing, which would
bring up new weed seeds and pests. Photo credit Kathryn Simmons
When heated in the solarization process, mustards release volatile compounds
very effectively. Different mustards do different jobs.
Mighty Mustard offers three varieties:
• Kodiak (Brassica juncea): Suppresses soilborne fungal pathogens and
nematodes, produces more biomass than other varieties
• Pacific Gold (Brassica juncea): Reduces soilborne fungal pathogens, nematodes
• IdaGold (Sinapis alba): Suppresses weeds. Photo credit Mighty Mustard
Photos from Iowa State University
• Salts can build up and damage crops, especially
if your soil doesn’t drain well, or if you use
animal manures (or synthetic fertilizers).
• Salinity is visible as a white crust on the soil. You
can test with an electrical conductivity meter.
• Symptoms are like drought-stress – poor seed
germination, poor plant growth. Excess salts can
also encourage some pests.
• If salinity has become a problem, you could
– Do all your winter watering with a hose
– or cultivate the soil and flush out the salts by
flooding, using sprinklers.
– or remove the plastic for a while and let
rainfall solve the problem
• After that, avoid more slat build-up - improve
soil drainage; switch to vegetable-based
composts and more cover crops.
Sowing when soils are hot
1. Consult the tables in Nancy Bubel’s New Seed Starter’s Handbook
or Knott’s Vegetable Grower’s Handbook, on the germination
requirements for your crop, and the expected time to emergence
under your field conditions – and use a soil thermometer.
2. If soil temperatures are too high for good germination, cool a
– Use shade from other plants, shadecloth, boards, burlap bags,
– For crops you normally direct seed, consider cooling a small
nursery bed for your seedlings and transplanting later.
3. If outdoors is impossible, start seeds indoors and transplant:
– Put a plastic flat of lettuce in your refrigerator or a cool room.
– Use plug flats or soil blocks rather than open flats, to reduce
Warm weather pest control
• Encourage beneficial insects
• Zipper spiders are our
friends! (Argiope aurantia).
They eat any insect or small
critter that gets stuck in their
• But our worst warm weather
pest is underground: Root
Root Knot Nematodes, Virginia
• Peanut Root Knot Nematodes have
been popping up in sections of beds
• We took the bed out of production and
grew a sequence of nematode-
suppressing cover crops: French
marigolds, white lupins, sesame,
wheat, Iron Clay cowpeas.
• We solarized from June to September
• 64°F is the threshold soil temperature
for nematode reproduction
• Our current approach is to have two
years of resistant crops, followed by
one year of somewhat-susceptible
• Resistant crops: Kale, Yukina Savoy and
radishes in winter; West Indian
gherkins, Mississippi Silver or Carolina
Crowder cowpeas in summer.
Photo Credit University of Maryland Plant
• Gerry Ross, Maui, Hawai’i explained to me
the rotation they are experimenting with to
keep root knot nematodes at a manageable
level. Nematodes are a fact of life there.
• Their high tunnel is covered with insect
cloth rather than plastic – they don’t need
• In the hotter summer weather, they grow
cukes, tomatoes, zukes, and peppers.
• Then they switch to nematode-suppressant
sunn hemp-Piper sudan cover crop for
about 45 days
• then to a winter rotation of brassicas with
peas and cukes.
• They mow the brassicas down after about a
month when it starts to get warm, and
harvest is over and plant directly into the
debris with the warm weather crops again.
Photos courtesy of Gerry Ross
High Tunnels: Using Low Cost Technology to Increase Yields, Improve Quality,
and Extend the Growing Season by Ted Blomgren, Tracy Frisch and Steve
Moore. University of Vermont Center for Sustainable Agriculture. $15 or on the
Walking to Spring by Alison and Paul Wiediger
The Hoophouse Handbook from www.GrowingforMarket.com
The Complete Know and Grow Vegetables, J K A Bleasdale, P J Salter et al.
Knott’s Handbook for Vegetable Growers, Donald N. Maynard and George J.
Hochmuth. The 2012 edition is free online from Missouri Extension
The New Seed Starter’s Handbook, Nancy Bubel, Rodale Books
The New Organic Grower, Eliot Coleman, Chelsea Green
Managing Cover Crops Profitably, SARE
The Flower Farmer by Lynn Byczynski from www.GrowingforMarket.com
Resources: More good books
(I have reviewed many of these books on my blog at www.sustainablemarketfarming.com)
The Market Gardener: A Successful Grower’s Handbook for Small-Scale
Organic Farming, Jean-Martin Fortier, New Society Publishers
Gardening When it Counts, Steve Solomon, New Society Publishers
The Organic Farmer’s Business Handbook, Richard Wiswall, Chelsea Green
Sustainable Vegetable Production from Start-up to Market, Vern Grubinger,
The Lean Farm, How to Minimize Waste, Increase Efficiency, and Maximize
Value and Profits with Less Work Ben Hartman
The Urban Farmer, Curtis Stone, New Society Publishers
Greenhouse and Hoophouse Grower's Handbook – Organic Vegetable
Production Using Protected Culture, Andrew Mefferd, Chelsea Green
Market Farming Success: The Business of Growing and Selling Local Food,
• Growing For Market May 2005 has an article by Steve Moore
on summer hoophouse use in PA.
• Growing For Market June 2008 has an article I wrote “The
Hoophouse in Summer”
• Growing For Market February and March 2009 Seed Growing
• Growing for Market November 2014, Nematodes in the
• Growing For Market August 2008 and November 2011 Ginger
• Ginger SARE Reports by Melissa Bahret, Greenhouse Ginger
Cultivation in the Northeast:
The HighTunnels website has information on construction, warm weather crops and
much else: http://hightunnels.org/for-growers/
Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture Hoop House How-To. Low cost DIY small
The Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers http://ascfg.org/
ATTRA www.attra.ncat.org has a lot of good publications on many aspects of sustainable
and organic agriculture.
Soil Solarization Homepage: http://agri3.huji.ac.il/~katan
Soil Solarization University of California:
Southern Exposure Seed Exchange www.southernexposure.com wonderful link for
Seed Saving Resources: http://homepage.tinet.ie/~merlyn/seedsaving.html
Saving Our Seeds website has information on isolation distances, seed processing
techniques, where to get manuals on growing specific seeds, and links to more
Klerk’s Kool Lite Plus plastic.
Robert Marvel Plastics for Solaroof:
Shade Cloth and grommets: Gemplers
www.gemplers.com or www.pakunlimited.com or
GreenTek, Inc http://www.green-tek.com/
Resources for Ginger and Turmeric
Alison and Paul Wiediger
Reza Rafie and Chris Mullins at Virginia State University
College Of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources,
University of Hawai’i at Manoa
Puna Organics and Biker Dude to buy seed ginger in November
Turmeric and galangal also available
Growing For Market August 2008, November 2011
http://www.quallaberryfarm.com Appalachian grown
ginger, turmeric and galangal in season.
Resources - slideshows
Many of my presentations are available at www.Slideshare.net. Search:
Cold-hardy Winter Vegetables
Crop Planning for Sustainable Vegetable Production
Fall and Winter Hoophouses
Fall Vegetable Production
Growing Great Garlic
Growing Sweet Potatoes from Start to Finish
Producing Asian Greens
Succession Planting for Continuous Vegetable Harvests
Other slide shows I recommend:
www.SlideShare.net Search for Paul and Alison Wiediger