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building rome

greenhouse at sweet digz farm

It takes time to build great things, and in the case of farming, money too.  The barriers to entry for those wanting to become farmers can be high. Kimi and Kareno have a five-year lease for the land on No. 2 Road and every decision regarding an investment of their time and money must be carefully made but building a greenhouse was not optional. Having a protected environment where they could grow a high-value, high-yield crop such as tomatoes was a must for their bottom line.

As part of their practicum, Richmond Farm School students spent time working on the greenhouse at Sweet Digz. The program is a mix of classroom and practical field work and the greenhouse was an excellent opportunity to put their math and problem-solving skills to the test. Under Kimi’s supervision, calculating and measuring out the distance between the posts and figuring out where the main opening should be located was all in day’s work.

Once it was covered with plastic film, Kareno set about preparing the greenhouse for planting. This included raising the beds and installing the support structures for growing vegetables. String was hung to create a trellis system and before too long tomatoes and peppers were thriving in the greenhouse and ready for market. As the fall approached, tomatoes were still harvested right up until the final CSA box delivery last week. That is one of the biggest benefits of having a greenhouse, an extended growing season.

Soon winter will be here and the greenhouse will sit empty but not for long. Even before spring officially arrives, Kimi and Kareno will be back in the planting the first crops to capitalize on an early start and a faster maturation inside the greenhouse. The marketing advantage of being able to supply produce when supplies are low but demand is strong is another reason why an investment in a greenhouse was so necessary.

Next year there will be more infrastructure decisions to make but for now the greenhouse stands as a proud reminder of all that has been accomplished this season.

 

kimi goes over the calculations and measurements for the greenhouse

getting ready to build the greenhouse

diagrams to show farm school students how they will build the greenhouse

the frame of the greenhouse sits fnished at the end of the long day's work

the greenhouse with its plastic cover

the greenhouse starts to fill with tomato plants

tomatoes growing in the greenhouse

kimi untangles the tomato plants in the greenhouse

tomatoes ripen in the greenhouse

fresh tomatoes harvested from the greenhouse

cherry tomatoes are still growing in the greenhouse at Sweet Digz Farm in Steveston, Richmond

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