It’s been a long time coming but thanks to a generous gift to Dawn Farm from Lucky’s Market Ann Arbor, we have four additional hoops at the cooperative. There’s always more work to do, we have to keep an eye on the hoops through the cold season and get them ready for planting in the spring. We’ll be asking four different individuals to come and get an early start in each of the new hoops.
In each hoop, each layer of plastic/cover offers roughly a USDA plant zone warmer. Ours being 6a we can now treat each hoop as zone 7a. That buys a grower an additional month on each end of the growing season. If a grower chooses to add additional row coverings or engage in some supplemental heating they could probably push things another zone south with each and therefore an additional month(s).
Of course the goals of each grower will be different. One will be a market garden and to feed their family, another dedicated to creating healthy social and nutritional choices in resource poor communities, and still another to plant a perennial agriculture in the fields. All of these goals are enabled by the gifts that Dawn Farm and now Lucky’s Market have given us.
The beauty of what we’re doing is that each grower can use this extra time in different ways. Tender young perennials can grow older and tougher, paving the way for trees just outside of their normal climate range and hedging our bets in a warmer world. A market gardener could start a crop of tomatoes or peppers early and keep them growing later than most others, giving them the opportunity to sell when they are the only one with their crop at market.
We remain eternally grateful for these gifts and will continue to steward them.