I knew that starting in March we were going to be busy..but I must admit I did not think that time would be moving this fast already! I wanted to take the time in this blog to highlight out first obstacle of the season, and a very big learning experience for us.
Due to the ice and snow storm that hit us yesterday, we suffered a loss in our first season crop. Our roads were shut down and were not able to get to the gardens until about 12pm, after we received a call from a city worker who informed us that the tunnels were collapsing. We found the situation to be far worse than we could have anticipated.
Above you can see the damage. The top of the tunnel was completely collapsed to the ground. After consulting our high tunnel experts we learned that in order to salvage the PVC we would have to get off the plastic. After slicing the plastic we did see that there were a few pieces of plastic that had snapped, but it could have been a lot worse. We now know, too, that we definitely need to put up support beams next year to prevent it from happening in the future.
Fortunately, it almost happened at the perfect time. Two days after the collapse, we had three volunteer groups come to town through our partnership with Amizade, the global service learning organization based in Pittsburgh. Twenty-Seven students total traveled from Becker College, Nazareth College and Harrisburgh Area Community College to work in Mingo County and the surrounding area for the week. The weather was gorgeous during the first part of the week, and they were able to get so much accomplished. They are actually still in town as I write this, but the weather was pretty nasty and cold here this morning so they are doing some indoor work. This week so far though, they have helped to fix the high tunnels by replacing the PVC, picked up and delivered about 6 loads of manure, helped work on the farms of our farmers market vendors, and have worked with our community gardens to till and fertilize their raised gardening beds.
The groups that we have hosted from Amizade have been great so far and have really had an impact on our gardens this year!