Tomato Harvest Pics, Zone 5

jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)June 30, 2011

I have been soooo busy, that I haven't had time to post. While I don't have any new pics of tomatoes in the high tunnel, most are 8-9 feet tall and still growing, I did start harvesting a larger quantity. My first tomatoes I sold were on June 15th. Today I had close to 150 pounds to sell at market.

Cherokee Purple on the left, Mainly Big Beef on the right. There are a few Estiva, BHN 640, BHN 589, Polbig and Florida 91. The yellow and orange ones are Taxi and BHN 876 or BHN 871.

Almost sold out too! Only the least ripe ones made it home. They will be gone on Saturday.

Jay

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whgille(FL 9b)

Hi Jay

Very nice harvest! On the BHN series, which one is your favorite for taste and production?

I am familiar with Big Beef, Florida 91, Taxi, Estiva, Cherokee Purple but not the others. Your reviews are always good.

Silvia

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 8:03AM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

I really like the BHN 589. I tried the 640's last year and wasn't as happy. I gave them another shot this year since I had the seed. Last year was a lousy tomato year too. This year it is starting to look the same. Way to hot, way to early!

Don't be afraid to try these, either one is good.

I got the orange and yellow BHN 871 and BHN 876 from a larger producer. I haven't been able to find them in small quantities. They are both very tasty. They set alot of fruit, all at once and then they are done.

Jay

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 8:27AM
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natal(Louisiana 8b)

That's very impressive for a zone 5 harvest in June!

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 11:07AM
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whgille(FL 9b)

Thanks Jay, I am always looking forward to the pictures of your tunnels, everything that you grow and most important your reviews. You are very inspiring.

Silvia

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 1:38PM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

Here are some pictures I took today. It is 104 outside and I needed a break.

Enjoy!

Welcome to the Jungle!

Big Beef

Polbig

View from the other end

Me in the middle, love the self timer. I am 5'10" the "T" post is 8 foot and they are above that. The roof is 13' 6" I guess I will need longer stakes!

Big Beef (probably already picked some)

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 3:26PM
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anithasudher

Hi,

Very impressive pictures. Need your expert advice. Can you please explain how often you feed your tomato plants and what do you feed? I planted my plants in mid may and they are about 2.5 feet tall and full of flowers. No fruits yet. I am not sure how often and what should I feed them.

Thanks,
Anitha

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 9:38PM
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zzackey(8b GA)

Do you have plastic on your greenhouse? How do your plants stand the heat? I've always wanted to grow enough to sell at the local farmer's market. maybe next year.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 10:15PM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

Anitha,

First of all, before planting a garden have a soil test. Your local extension service should be able to help you out with this. Don't waste your time with the cheap kit from the hardware store. Find out what your pH and your N-P-K levels are. Then follow the recommendations they give you. You may find out that feeding isn't required. My soil is naturally very high in P and K. Our property use to be old outside pig lots many, many years ago. So all I add is some nitrogen and sulfur to help lower my pH. I also add compost to the rows prior to planting.

Here is a picture of the compost spread out in the rows. After this, I till everything in, put down my drip tape and start to plant.

It is alot of shoveling, especially at the end of February/early March to do this. I get the compost from our city compost site. I have been doing this for many years and have been very happy with the results. I put it in my covered trailer this year as there was a chance of snow before I picked it up and then really cold weather. I usually spread 3-5 truckloads of this compost in my gardens every year.

If you feed your tomatoes too much nitrogen, you will only get blooms and alot of foliage.

Hope this helps.

Zackey,

Yes the plastic is on my high tunnels. They stand the heat fairly well.
We use natural ventilation to help cool them.

the side walls pull up 3 feet on each side, the two endwall doors drop down 8 feet and the walk through door is left open. Also the window in the middle is opened to let the hot air out. I live on a hill with no wind breaks. We usually always have a good breeze.

I wish I could buy some shade cloth and put it over the whole structure in late May, but I didn't have that in my budget this year.

Jay

    Bookmark   July 4, 2011 at 7:25AM
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SherwinFarms

Jay! Very impressive man. When do you set out your transplants?? I'm thinking about going the tunnel route. I used to work at a farm with 3 season tunnels, wasn't so impressed. I'm thinking maybe something like you have could be pretty awesome though!! Thanks for your pics!

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 11:16PM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

The first transplants went out on March 20th, then rest went out on March 31st/April 1.

High tunnels are the way of the future. So much more production is possible. There is some risk involved, but they will pay for themselves very quick.

Jay

    Bookmark   July 6, 2011 at 12:32AM
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sunsi(z5 NY)

Jay, I am very impressed with the pictures showing the hightunnel. I've been thinking about building one but need more research. I joined a mailing list for this place (see link) and have learned a lot from small farmers who use them--maybe next year I'll get it going, hopefully.

Thanks, for sharing the pictures--can't believe all the tomatoes you have at this time of the season in zone 5--a sure selling point for hightunnel growing!

Here is a link that might be useful: Hightunnels

    Bookmark   July 6, 2011 at 1:01PM
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stricklins(Long Beach WA Zone 8)

Very Nice setup and result. Really shows that if you work on you garden year round you will have better results.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2011 at 1:03PM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

Sunsi, I am a member of that listserve. It is a very helpful tool. I am glad to hear that you are looking into high tunnel growing. It can be very challenging, nerve wrecking and rewarding.

Stricklins- I do garden year around. My "hobby" has turned into a full time summer job, and a part time, during the school year job. August, September and April and May I have two full time jobs, Teaching and Garden.

I don't have a lot going on other than that and my family, but it does help us pay the bills and save money on food. I am sure I would have to have a part time job on the evenings and weekends if I didn't do this. I do consider this a job, I just get to bring my kids to work everyday.

Jay

    Bookmark   July 7, 2011 at 1:18AM
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2ajsmama

Hi Jay, how big is your tunnel and what did you make the curved roof from? I was thinking EMT, but don't know if that will handle snow load. Do you take the plastic off for the winter and put it on in early March?

I have to do high or low tunnel next year, this year couldn't plant out til June b/c of the rain, I'm sure my heirlooms would be much bigger if I had been able to plant them even a month earlier (as normal), March or April would be great!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2011 at 8:36AM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

This tomato tunnel is 30 by 48. I bought this one used. It was actually a greenhouse frame.
http://www.stuppy.com/product.aspx/Powerhouse%C2%AE%20Rainbow

The plastic stays on year around and we grow/harvest produce from it year around.

You can check out my website for some ideas on how to build your own high tunnel and save a lot of money. If you look at my site, at the top is a link called "Presentations" click on it and you will find many different types of plans for high tunnels, including my own. Remember, if you want a smaller one, use these plans and build them to your desired length. You don't have to build them the size they are listed.

Jay

Here is a link that might be useful: Jay's Jellies

    Bookmark   July 8, 2011 at 9:10AM
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sunsi(z5 NY)

jrslick QUOTE:
"Stricklins- I do garden year around. My "hobby" has turned into a full time summer job, and a part time, during the school year job. August, September and April and May I have two full time jobs, Teaching and Garden.

I don't have a lot going on other than that and my family, but it does help us pay the bills and save money on food. I am sure I would have to have a part time job on the evenings and weekends if I didn't do this. I do consider this a job, I just get to bring my kids to work everyday."

Jay, I hope more people see the value of this job (and you're right, it is a job) which is not only rewarding but needed. We alway hear, "but locally" and this would ensure that there is plenty to buy and feed our families plus it supports the local economy.

jrslick QUOTE:
"Sunsi, I am a member of that listserve. It is a very helpful tool. I am glad to hear that you are looking into high tunnel growing. It can be very challenging, nerve wrecking and rewarding."

I really stumbled on this listserve and liked the information from people who are actually doing hightunnels day-to-day. There is a wealth of knowledge there and everyone is supportive and generous with help if you experience a problem. I'm not sure if we'll make each individual raised bed a tunnel or go the whole way and enclose the entire area of raised beds into one hightunnel. Bottomline is we want to grow food out of season but within our budget.

Going to check out your website "presentations" for ideas, thanks.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2011 at 12:08PM
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2ajsmama

Thanks - just flipped through, didn't see how you made the hoops so long (what, is each one 3 10ft lengths of EMT glued together?). Of course I could use shorter and just make a low tunnel.

Cute kids - all girls, or is the little guy a guy?

    Bookmark   July 8, 2011 at 4:16PM
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behlgarden(9)

I had to admire the good looking tomato pictues and the tunnel garden, wow! Very nice!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2011 at 6:01PM
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