Challenges in the Hoophouse, Ranunculus Corm Damage 1/24/24, and Solutions

Challenges in the Hoophouse, Ranunculus Corm Damage 1/24/24, and Solutions

mouse ate ranunculus corms

Unfortunately, you can't win 'em all. Here, you can see a normal ranunculus corm on the right and a mouse chewed one on the left. I covered up some of the areas with landscape fabric with hopes of keeping them protected from the cold, and this was a welcome mat for the mice. I know it was mice for sure because a chubby one made a run for it as I was pulling the fabric up.  Some corms were dug up, and some were chewed. The fabric was down for a few days. 

I noticed the mice stayed on one side of the hoop house, and did not disturb the corms on the other side. One variable that is different is that the depth of the corms is less on the side that the mice got into. This is most definitely why that side was targeted as it was easier to get to the corms. I did not place them as deep because I feared the poor drainage would cause them to rot. Man - this is a lose lose situation!! lol

I placed them into my hoop house in early January because I wanted to see if the ranunculus held up in my conditions. (Oh boy.) Ranunculus can survive at temperatures above 25 degrees F, and anemone can survive at temperatures above 20 degrees F. I rolled the dice by doing this, and temperatures were down to 8 degrees during this storm. I thought if some were deep enough, the soil would not freeze to the depth they were located. Needless to say, it will be miraculous if they make it through. 

Another huge issue I see happening is the soil is too heavy. I did put compost into the soil, but I can see with the snow melting here, the drainage in the area is not good. It seems like all of the odds are not in favor of my ranunculus. 

I plan to create raised beds in the second hoop house with another trial of ranunculus I have (currently happy in the basement in optimal conditions). The thing is, I can't seem to find a good source (and a place that's open right now) for bulk and good quality top soil. 

To be continued.. 

mice ate ranunculus

wet soil

This is really sad to see here. Everything is drowning - the next TODO: Raised beds!! I will not let this happen again. 

UPDATE: 2/3/24

We've built 2 raised beds. One is completed with baby ranunculus placed inside today. I am hoping to get the second bed prepared tomorrow and then to get the rest planted by Monday, 2/5. I purchased frost cloth to place over the babies in the hoophouse. PROGRESS! 

ranunculus planting

1/2 is topsoil and the other 1/2 is soil from Heimiller Greenhouses. I mixed in some old horse manure and mixed everything together with a walk behind tiller. 

raised bed

2 x 12's were used here. These are old pieces of wood that were in my mom's shed that we reused. 

ranunculus seedlings

The ranunculus seedlings are ready to be planted. These were started in my basement on 1/16. The first batch of corms in hoop house 1 have not popped through the soil. I think they've drowned/ rotted. 

Now we will see if they make it through the lower February temperatures in raised beds. I will be closely monitoring them. 

I've ordered supplies for foliar fertilization - that will be fun! 

To be continued. 

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