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Hoop House Tomatoes

Garth Brown |

Right before moving up here, Alanna and I lived on the north fork of Long Island. We spent a lot of time with our good friends at Oysterponds Farm, hanging out and helping them with whatever was going on. This was my first serious foray into veggie garden, and I fear it gave me some misapprehensions about the ease of growing certain crops, particularly tomatoes and peppers. The long, mild climate, high tunnels, and a knowledgeable farmer combined to grow plants that yielded tons of tasty tomatoes ranging from hybrid cherries to mammoth Brandywines.

Here in central New York it’s a different story. With our short, cool summers and my lack of expertise, Sun Gold is the only varietal that has consistently produced anything worth eating. I’ve always assumed that the primary culprit was the weather (since it couldn’t really be my fault), and in the past there’s been no easy way to address this.

But now that the small hoop house I made a few years back has been moved over by the garden, I’m putting the theory to the test by planting heat-loving plants inside it. So far the results are promising. It only takes a little sun to warm everything up, and the plants, while not yet large (they got a late start, like most everything) are vigorously growing. I’ve planted six tomatoes and seven peppers, and I’m going to round things out with two melon plants.

This year in particular some of these warm weather crops will be most welcome, assuming they’re successful.


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