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High Tunnel System 325

What it is

High tunnels help agricultural producers to extend the growing season for high value crops in an environmentally safe manner. High tunnels (also known as hoop houses) are structures that modify the growing climate, allowing for tender, sensitive, and specialty crops like certain varieties of vegetables, herbs, berries, and others to grow where they otherwise may not. High tunnels are constructed of metal bow frames with wood framed ends, at least six feet in height, and are covered with one or two layers of polyethylene.

How it helps

Seasonal high tunnels provide conservation benefits, such as improved plant, water and soil quality, as well as reduced disease pressure. High tunnels can lengthen the season for marketing local produce, which increases sustainability while lowering energy and transportation inputs. An extended growing season and steady income can help small, limited resource, and organic farmers, and assist producers transitioning to specialty crops.

A seasonal high tunnel may help you address a natural resource concern by:

  • improving plant quality
  • improving soil quality
  • reducing nutrient and pesticide transportation
  • improving air quality through reduced transportation inputs
  • reducing energy use by providing consumers with a local source of fresh produce

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