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Growing season

Farmers Extend Growing Season Using Plastic, Recycled Bottles and Hoop Tunnels

Monday, February 15, 2010 by: M.Thornley
Tags: growing season, farmers, health news

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(NaturalNews) Innovative farmers from areas as diverse as Maine, New York and Tennessee, are proving that vegetables can be grown in all seasons. Utilizing plastic and PVC to make "tunnels," or hanging recycled plastic bottles in windows, these farmers respond to cravings for local produce year-round and teach others how to extend the growing season.

In "Farmers use technology to lengthen growing season, make crops more fruitful," Larisa Brass reports on June 28, 2009, that by experimenting with PVC or other framing materials and plastic sheeting to make hoop tunnels and by using hydroponic growing systems for controlled watering, farmers are producing astonishing amounts of kale, cauliflower, green onions, carrots, potatoes, radishes, turnips and beets, among other crops, on a miniscule acreage. The entrepreneurs report a doubling of their production with expansion each year, in addition to paying off their initial investment.

The hoop tunnel constructions protect plants from the desiccating effects of wind, cold and frost while allowing winter sunlight to nourish growth. These tunnels are not conventional greenhouses. Bows or hoops of inexpensive metal or PVC support greenhouse grade polyethylene sheeting. Row covers are also sometimes used.

The tunnels are useful for protecting plants from hot weather or starting plants early in the season. Fruit trees can also be grown under plastic structures, which protect them from cracking and repel Japanese beetles and other insects. Birds can also be controlled or discouraged, as well as rabbits. In winter, the plastic cover holds in heat; in warm weather the sides can be lifted to allow air circulation. The structures can be heated or unheated. The structures can also be made mobile for rotating. Significant water savings have also been noted.

The taste of this produce is superior. In Maine, a four season farmer's winter carrots are popular. In Tennessee, a farmer reports flavorful turnips.

An article titled ""Window Farmers" Growing Food in Tiny Apartments Year-Round" by Britta Riley, August 19, 2009 reports on a "craze" sweeping New York City: apartment dwellers growing herbs and vegetables using hydroponic drips systems in windows. Britta Riley and Rebecca Bray are Brooklyn based scientists who produce a weekly salad of tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, okra, basil and peppers using 5-gallon buckets, recycled plastic water bottles and a dim New York City window. They teach others how to make a vertical farm on a window. They consider window farming a starting point for environmental reform."

These innovators provide alternatives to industrial farming and new hope for feeding the planet. They practice sustainable, ecologically-conscious methods that can be adopted by anyone anywhere.


About the author

M. Thornley enjoys walking, writing and pursuing a raw vegan diet and lifestyle.
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