This month we have been discussing about disease control with our participants. The onion, lettuce, and peas are coming out beautifully for so many.  Harvest is starting to come alone great. I asked one of our members, Greg to write me a little something on how he grow such a beautiful tomato patch in the high tunnel.

Just like my pappy used to say.”Nothing’s as easy as it looks.” I watched online videos of experts planting tomatoes and they just dig a little hole in the ground, drop in a tomato plant from a seedling tray. Scoop some dirt around it and then declare victory and pat themselves on the back for  doing such a wonderful job. Then the video ends and you can imagine the expert going to sit at a table with a plate, knife, fork and a large napkin covering his shirt waiting to eat some “maters”.

I’m a volunteer at St. Vincent Mission in David, KY. Some of 7 or 9 years ago the mission in collusion with Grow Applachia; erected a 48′ x 16′ high tunnel. I have become the de facto caretaker of the HT. If I knew what I was doing, I could give myself a splendid title like, “High Tunnel Technician” or “God’s Farmer”, but since I don’t, I’m pretty much just “playing in the dirt”.

David is an old coal mining town and when I start digging holes for tomatoes I unearth a lot of heavy clay, a small pile of rocks, and occasionally a chunk of coal slag. so contrary to what the video tell me to do, I attempt to give my toms a fighting chance by digging a deeper, wider hole than the video shows. I use post-hole diggers to make a hole 12″ deep and about as wide. I take the dirt removed from the hole and sift it with a 1/2″ grate removing the rocks and slag.

The sifted dirt goes into a wheelbarrow where I blend it with compost, manure, some top-soil, and some granulated fertilizer. Then the mix goes into the hole and this is where the online video starts to become useful.

It’s so easy. Just like my pappy used to say.