Kitchen Garden Journal
- Published on Monday, February 11, 2013, 08:55
- Written by Caroline Pam
We woke up Saturday to around 30 inches of snow and a crumpled greenhouse.
Our "megatunnel," as we affectionately call it, is the heart of our winter growing operation. This summer it was also our salvation, yielding thousands of pounds of vine ripe tomatoes when our outdoor plantings succombed to late blight.
The 30'X186' Nor'Easter gothic style greenhouse from Rimol is the most significant investment we've made on the farm, arguably more valuable than the 7 acres it sits on. The greenhouses (we have four, in total) are clustered on our strip of land amid a sea of large vegetable fields. In the summer the wind just whips through the open meadows, blowing the fine soil into vast dust clouds.
During the blizzard Friday night the wind sucked snow from the neighboring fields into the channel between the southern edge of the megatunnel and the smaller hoop house 10 feet away from it and created a mountain of snow that reached the top of the gothic arch. As the snow continued piling up over the top it eventually collapsed under the weight.
Thankfully, no one was hurt and about half of the structure is still standing. The winter salad greens, spinach, radishes, bok choy and turnips planted in the ground are still looking good. We spent the last few days clearing snow out of the way to make sure it's safe to go inside to start repairs and harvest for this week's Winter CSA and farmers' markets.
Insurance doesn't cover greenhouses for damage from snow and ice. There's a case to be made that the wind was the real cuprit here, and we'll see if the adjuster agrees.
Either way, we plan to start reconstruction as early as Wednesday to take advantage of the warmer temperatures and try to get the crops under plastic again as soon as possible.