Today promises to be a full day.
Physical therapy, mom visit, trip to Grand Rapids area with other chores stuffed in the cracks.
One of the big eye-openers for American Industry in the late 1970s was the flexibility of Japanese factories. They produced a multitude of automobiles (for instance) out of a single factory. Sometimes it was the same basic auto but modified for a dozen different markets.
American factories, like metal stamping plants, operated on "Economic Lot Size" theory which essentially meant that if you had enough racks to hold six months worth of a specific part, that is how many you stamped out before changing the dies in the presses for the next part.
That differed from the Japanese who might stamp out one week's worth of parts.
Obviously, the US factories could not operate on a one-week cycle because it sometimes took an entire week to change out the dies and tune them in to the point where a usable part was produced.
There are many reasons to emulate the Japanese model. One reason is that it is expensive if your set-up was less than perfect and you produced six months worth of a part and most of them had cracks in them. Or if there was an engineering change and you had to hand-rework or scrap six months worth of parts.
There were also issues with the week-long die changes. The press might be down for a week and then run a week to make the six months worth of parts. Then down another week and running another week making another part. Because of the ratio of down-time to up-time, the company needed twice as much press-line capacity as it would have needed if it could change the die-sets in fifteen minutes.
This history shapes my thinking on short-season gardening (sometimes called cold-climate gardening).
I like the term short-season gardening because there are large portions of the country where it is very hot and dry where the growing season is short. Or sometimes there are two growing seasons separated by a hot summer.
Then there is the issue of food production from the garden having value. Let's say a late frost flattens your garden in the second week of June. Do you just decide to sit the year out or do you have/make a plan to overcome? If you are hungry, you make a plan and soldier on.
When the enemy (hunger) is on the horizon we can use precision rifles and allow time for the barrel to cool off. When they are closer we take any shot we are offered. When they are in the trench with us...we do what is ugly and necessary.
Mrs ERJ is strongly suggesting that a greenhouse is in our future. I am interested in hoop houses made with cattle feedlot panels and plastic film. Do any readers have experience with the cost and durability of the various types of plastic film used to cover them? Mrs ERJ and my vision vary slightly. I see it as a way to start the season earlier. She sees it as a way to have fresh salads through most of the late-fall, winter and spring.
If used just for starting plants, the film could be peeled off of the frame and stored out of the sun until late the next winter. In Mrs ERJ's vision it could be removed for the summer and reinstalled in mid fall. UV light and wind battering are what kills the plastic film.