Hoop-House Intercropping in Spring

| 3/24/2017 3:34:00 PM

Tags: Pam Dawling, Virginia, intercropping, hoop house growing,

­­In our hoop house (high tunnel) in central Virginia we have three distinct vegetable crop seasons, with a couple of overlapping crops like February snap peas (harvested late April to late May), and peppers which span from April to November:

Winter crops planted in September, October, and the first week of November. We harvest these from November to April (some spinach to May)

Early warm weather crops planted in March and early April, which we harvest from June to late July

High summer crops which we plant in July and harvest from August to October.

Here I will write about our spring hoop house transition from Season 1 to Season 2, interplanting tomatoes and other early warm weather crops (peppers, squash, cucumbers) among the remaining winter greens. When we are preparing for our fall plantings we clear the beds, add compost, broadfork and rake. But when we make the transition from winter crops to early spring crops in our high tunnel, we don’t clear whole beds. We like to keep the greens producing as long as possible, covering the Hungry Gap - the time before new spring plantings start to produce. In this case the new greens will be outdoors where it's cooler. Intercropping (also known as interplanting and relay planting) is a good way to maximize food production from a given amount of space. And space in a hoop house is prime real estate, because growing vegetables in a hoop house is so productive!

Six steps to make the transition from winter greens to early warm weather crops, while getting lots of produce every day.

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