The title of this blog is something I think I have had for several years and looking back it's funny how the term tunnel vision has come full circle for me (hint...I explain at the end).
I procrastinated on getting a tunnel to extend our seasons for several years and honestly for several reasons. In today's blog I break down those reasons why I felt it wasn't time for me to have a tunnel to grow in (hence "tunnel vision").
Before I jump into that let me just preface it by saying I am absolutely 100% in love with my tunnel and have named her Libby after my grandmother Elizabeth, who lived here on the farm.
Now, back to those hang ups and why it took me a solid four years of growing before jumping off of the cliff and investing in one.
Reason #1: I was busy! I was busy with working, with my family and with growing this side business. I felt like I could barely keep up with my field planted flowers so how in the world could I take care of a tunnel full of them in addition to everything else.
Reason #2: I was intimidated. Seriously I was kind of scared. What about all of the unknowns? What about pest issues? It's a completely different environment than the outside world. I knew that for a fact and I felt like I would be a complete failure if something took out an entire crop inside the tunnel (I'm not sure why I don't feel like that with the outside crops). I was also scared about putting up something so large. How in the world do you build it and once it's there, its surely no easy task to take down if you decide this gig isn't for you. Thank goodness I have a husband who dives in and figures things out. He jumped right in and did an amazing job putting it up.
Reason #3: The expense. Tunnel investments are expensive. High tunnel grants are available through the USDA but I strongly felt that there was no way I was going to ask for a grant funded by tax payers before I could prove that this was a real business that I would be making my livelihood from. We invested back into the business every year and finally during the 2020 growing season we were able to save enough and purchase Miss Libby. The tunnel itself was around $4900.00 and after adding in the expense of lumber and other miscellaneous costs we ended up spending close to $6500.00 on her. To say that the cost was a scary factor was an understatement but honestly, like everything you work for in life, knowing that I paid cash for her and it's our first one makes it incredibly special to us.
In hind site do I wish I had a tunnel earlier in the game? Yes and no. If I could have been here at the farm full time...absolutely yes but things happened just as they should have and she came along at just the right time.
Do I want another one?
Holy Moly YES!!!
We already know we want the second one to be longer (our current is a 30x72) and are planning the next to be (30x96). I have applied for a USDA grant for our second. If it comes through great and if not then we'll save up until we can fund a second.
I am still learning with it every single day but it has been so amazing to have flowers blooming by April 1st. We were able to start our bouquet subscriptions the first week of April when in the past it was almost the end of April before we were able to get rolling. The next big challenge with her is getting everything turned over in a timely manner to have a second set of crops blooming for the 2021 season and then planted again by mid November with cool season flowers for the spring of 2022.
I love that I have sold hundreds of bouquets in the month of April alone for all of you to enjoy in your homes.
I end this blog once again going back to the term tunnel vision and it no longer has the typical meaning you think of when one says tunnel vision but now have TUNNEL VISION....meaning I am dreaming of a second and all that I want to plant inside!
Have a wonderful week!