We built our high tunnel last year with the help of the Kansas Rural Center, a USDA grant and an army of volunteers. That first year it helped us grow tomatoes during a terrible period of drought and high temperatures.
This summer, after the lettuce, arugula and other greens were gone, we planted cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and summer squash. Summer squash are particularly challenging to grow using organic practices because squash bugs and vine borers kill the plants often before they’ve really reached full production – and there aren’t many organically certified pesticides to use. Even those that we are allowed to use must be used sparingly and at night only, because they can affect the health of pollinators that we want in the garden.
But with the diffused light of the plastic that covers the high tunnel, the squash have really taken over. The plants are four feet tall with enormous leaves. We hope that the plants can outrun the insects and give us lots of squash to bring to market.