Skip Paul and Liz Peckham have been farming in Little Compton for nearly 30 years. Their son, Silan recently joined them at Wishing Stone Farm. Their eight parcels host a variety of growing structures among the fields: stationary greenhouses, movable high tunnels, Haygrove houses or Rolling Thunder structures like those used by Elliot Coleman in Maine.
Modern European poly house manufacturers recommend houses be gutter-connected and at least 21’ high. The light bounces around like a diamond refracting inside and helps grow better crops – especially in winter’s weaker sunlight. The high ceiling improves airflow, which helps reduce bacteria and disease pressure. Paul’s Star Steel House (www.starsteelgreenhouses.com) from Milikowski Greenhouse Supply (www.whmilikowski.com) has automated roof vents and motors to roll up the sides when needed. In the dead of winter, pipes bring in small amounts of cool air rather than risking crops by opening a vent or raising a side in frosty temperatures.
Paul heats just five of the farm’s twelve houses to start spring plants. The Star Steel House has a furnace that burns used motor oil. Propane or traditional heating oil heats four other houses. For years, used oil was just about free from fishermen and truck fleets. Now there is some competition so this fuel costs the farm about $.50 per gallon (paid in CSA debit card credits).
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