This fall we put up a second hoop house or high tunnel. It went up pretty easy seeing as we had done it once before. Mark is the mastermind behind it's construction, I'm there to hold and fetch things. I found the instructions on the Kerr Center website - http://kerrcenter.com/organic-farm/hoop-house. It's not too complicated and relatively inexpensive. The 2nd hoop house has been planted with anemones, ranunculus, delphiniums, bells of Ireland, Digitalis, and Icelandic Poppies. Planting in the hoop house in the fall gives us a head start come spring and helps us have flowers earlier. Another investment we made this fall was woven landscape fabric. I felt like all I did over this past growing season was weed. This isn't the kind you buy at Lowe's, it's commercial grade and should last at least 10 years. We burn holes in the fabric with a torch and use metal templates for the desired plant spacing. We will reuse this fabric year after year which I like better then using the plastic that gets thrown away after one season. It makes planting out transplants a breeze.
Fall time has always meant new beginnings for me, it's the change in the air. Summertime is so intense around here with all the flower work to be done. It's also very beautiful and full of new life. There is such abundance in summer. When the cooler weather comes everything starts growing slower and then finally dies in a frost. All the dead brown flowers mock me in their beds, the cutting season is over. No more lush flowers all over the house. The transition can be hard for me. Fall is also a blank canvas, full of possibilities. Perhaps that is behind my motivation to get up the 2nd hoop house or plant 600 anemones and ranunculus which I have never grown before. I have never planted so much in the fall time, I cannot wait to see the results.
Above are pictures of the flowers we provided for the Botetourt Farmer's Market appreciation lunch that was held in early November. We had a killing frost the night before so all these flowers came out of the protected hoop house.