The grand finale!
We used a Poly Keder called SolaWrap to cover the greenhouse rather than standard polyethylene film. SolaWrap is a film cladding system that has been used in Europe for a number of years but was not available in the U.S. until 2013. It is engineered to both insulate and diffuse sunlight, retaining up to 95 percent of heat radiation while providing an R-value of 1.7. The Keder locking mechanism is water and air tight and is strong enough to withstand our extreme weather conditions. We were also attracted by SolaWrap's long lifespan of 20-25 years or more.
Our greenhouse was constructed by Vine Ripe Greenhouse construction (https://www.vineripe.net/). We provided most of our own labor, which helped reduce costs and turned out to be a great learning opportunity.
Days 3 and 4 included end wall framing, base- and hip board installation, and precise installation of extruded channels to insert the poly keder.
Day 2 included the installation of seven purlins and 11 trusses. The crown height on our high tunnel is 16.5 feet, so it was a bit of a challenge. Big thanks to Mike Feiner and Vine Ripe Greenhouse construction. (https://www.vineripe.net/)
It has been another beautiful day in Vermont. We spent a good part of the morning sitting on the deck with the dogs, soaking up the last of Summer's sun. The first frost will likely arrive 2 or 3 weeks from now, but these final days feel glorious. The plants are thriving, the birds are frolicking, and our favorite sunflowers, the Goldie Doubles, are in bloom. The trees are starting to transform into their brilliant reds and golds, helping to make the end of summer more sweet than bitter. This is quite a feat considering the long winter we will have to endure.
We might still have time to drive down to Scott Farm in Dummerston, Vermont in October to visit the historic apple orchard where Rudyard Kipling built his dream home. Scott Farm grows 90 varieties of apples, which is difficult to comprehend, even for an apple connoisseur.
We spent much of the spring and summer preparing for our move to solar (our old pole barn now holds 20 solar panels on its roof) and learning how to tend our two new bee colonies. We also deconstructed two old rotting structures and extended one of our large garden beds. We now have around 6,000 square feet of gardens, which are growing everything from flowers to spinach. A tractor would have been welcomed this year, but we are still managing without one. Getting our hands dirty has made us feel more connected to each other and to this land.
It has been a good year for spinach, kale, onions, cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes, and ground cherries. We harvested about the same amount of garlic as last year (over 200 bulbs). Our peas were doing really well until the deer found them too tempting. (We'll have to start thinking about permanent fences next year.) The fall harvest will continue with many varieties of squash, which we will cure and continue to eat all winter. (Check the Recipes page for our Kuri Squash Soup recipe.) Anyone following our farm page on Facebook knows this year's strawberries were amazing.