Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Life

March 29, 2013

Temperature fluctuations good for maple syrup production

With temperatures trying their best to be uncooperative this spring, it is by no means curtailing activities behind the scenes.

I drive by numerous greenhouse operations that are buzzing with planting and seeding activities. In the wee hours of the morning with dawn just breaking, these operations can be seen with smoke billowing from their stacks and the whole greenhouse lit up like a jewel in the darkness. Later this same greenhouse may have its doors wide open and fans blowing to allow heat to escape.

Temperatures in a growing greenhouse ideally should hover in the 68- to 72-degree range, depending on what you are trying to grow. Sometimes it is difficult to maintain these constant temps because of the sun’s penetration into these enclosures.

Most of the older houses have roll-up sides to allow for better ventilation. But nowadays, with modern technology, most of the newer greenhouses have overhead vents that are automatically temperature controlled. Heat rises, so it makes sense to have these overhead vents to allow all that excess heat to escape.

Most of the larger operations will have at least one greenhouse that is kept cooler for plants that desire a cooler growing atmosphere or, in some cases in large operations, there will be several houses kept between 40 and 50 degree to “harden off” the cool, weather-loving plants, including early vegetables (kohlrabi, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and kale) when they reach an acceptable size to do this.

Early, cool-weather flowers are also treated to this “hardening off” action and they would include, among others, alyssum, snapdragons, violas, pansies, petunias and ivy geraniums. You must perform this operation in stages by decreasing the temperatures gradually to prevent shocking.

Smaller operations may prefer to provide a “cold-frame” set-up that will allow them to be open during weather conditions that permit this, or to be closed if a frost or freeze is in the forecast.

Another behind-the-scenes activity that has always intrigued me — but that I’ve never had the opportunity to watch to its fruition — is the maple syrup production process.

I pass wooded areas that have the tree tapping going on with the collection of sugar water that will eventually become the reveled maple syrup we all love so much.

Some relevant facts that people might not know are that it takes between 40 to 50 gallons of sugar water to produce one gallon of maple syrup.

February through March when temperatures fluctuate from above freezing during the day and below freezing at night is what causes the sap to flow.

The earliest harvesting of the sap was done by the American Indians who “reduced it down” by heating stones and placing them in the tree water. This would reduce the water content and leave the remaining syrup.

Tapping graduated from wooden flute-like taps to the modern metal taps that are used today. A sugar maple is considered large enough for tapping when it is 10 inches in diameter at 4½ feet above ground level. A 15-inch tree will allow two taps and a 20-inch tree can use three taps. An average tree will produce 15 gallons of sap from each tap-hole per season.

The sugar water is collected and placed in a central storage tank at the “sugar house” to start the process of filtering several times and heating to 185 degrees. This reduces the sugar water with a sugar content of 2 to 2½ percent to a sugar content of the finished product of more than 65 percent. A gallon of syrup weighs approximately 11 pounds.

1
Text Only
Life
  • At the game with Ernie

    Baseball on radio brings the imagination alive

    April 13, 2014

  • There are many ways to measure success It yields a virtual sea of books, talks and podcasts; classes, seminars and sermons; pointers, tips and 10-step lists; and gaggles of guides that promise the seven secrets to it. The "it," of course, is success. A dictionary definition? Easy: the ach

    April 13, 2014

  • FEA GN140413 dick lehman 08 Passion for pottery

    Passion for pottery BY SAM HOUSEHOLDER sam.householder@goshennews.com

    Dick Lehman has spent his 33-year career as a potter learning how to see.

    Lehman has built a successful career despite no formal, traditional pottery training.

    April 13, 2014 6 Photos

  • FEA GN0411 tom yoder column image Winter leaves yards with trouble spots Each and every year the majority of us are faced with some sort of horticultural problem that exists, has existed, or we're worried that it could become a problem in our future. Every year, and predominantly in the spring, I receive calls from homeow

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Electing sheriffs best way to protect rights DEAR SHERIFF: I have heard of proposed Indiana legislation in the last few years to elect one county executive who would appoint the sheriff and essentially remove the sheriff from being elected. What is your opinion on such legislation? ANSWER: The

    April 11, 2014

  • stephanie price column sig [Duplicate] 'Can I spend the night?' Just say 'no'

    Have I mentioned I’m a morning person? Love those early, early hours. They’re fresh and sweet, much like a newborn baby — quiet, gentle, promising. Oh-five-hundred is my finest hour, and coffee goes best with a sunrise.

    April 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kingsley, Aaron Sawatsky COLUMN: Scientists say climate to deteriorate faster than expected Scientists say climate to deteriorate faster than expected By AARON SAWATSKY-KINGSLEY Columnist

    April 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN0324 Schrock_Rhonda column sig GROUNDS FOR INSANITY: Government can't legislate common sense, matters of the heart It was a story that gripped the world for days. A Boeing 777 carrying 239 souls; missing. A desperate search by numerous countries; nothing. Questions in a multitude of dialects and tongues; few answers in any language. As someone put it, “So they can track my phone, but they can’t find a missing plane?”

    March 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • stephanie price column sig [Duplicate] WHOLE FAMILY: Ways to help in times of crisis Ways to help in times of crisis

    March 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Steury_Paul SHADES OF GREEN: Being 'political' important to environmental future Every year we jump on the Amtrak in Elkhart and take our Merry Lea environmental education graduate students on a “field trip” to our nation’s capitol.

    March 30, 2014 1 Photo

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video
Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge US Supports Ukraine's Efforts to Calm Tensions Suspect in Kansas Shootings Faces Murder Charges Ukraine: Military Recaptures Eastern Airport Raw: Storm Topples RVs Near Miss. Gulf Coast NASA Showcases Lunar Eclipse Pistorius Cries During Final Cross-Examination The Boston Marathon Bombing: One Year Later Michael Phelps Set to Come Out of Retirement First Women Move to Army Platoon Artillery Jobs Sex Offenders Charged in Serial Killings Police: Woman Stored Dead Babies in Garage OC Serial Murder Suspects May Have More Victims Family: 2 Shot in Head at Kan. Jewish Center Raw: Horse Jumping Inspires 'Bunny Hop' After Attack, Officials Kill 5 Bears in Florida Popular Science Honors Year's Top Inventions ND Oil Boom Attracting Drug Traffickers
Poll

Goshen City Council member Dixie Robinson is asking residents to make an effort to clean up their yards this spring. The city’s Dial-A-Truck program is available to haul trash away. Do you think there are more unsightly properties in Goshen this year than five years ago?

Yes, I have noticed more problem properties
No, I have not noticed more problems
I think the problems are about the same as always
     View Results