Season Extension with High Tunnels (BF 220)
Know Before You Grow online course through the Northeast Beginning Farmer Project
Tues. March 22 – April 19, 2016, with webinars every Tuesday evening from 7:00-8:30pm.
Adding weeks to either end of your growing season can mean attaining a premium for having products available well before (or long after) other local growers. But the structures that make this possible-unheated plastic-covered “high tunnels” or “hoophouses”-can cost a lot of money, and they bring special management considerations that need to be understood in order to be profitable additions to your farm.
This course is meant for farmers who already have some experience successfully growing vegetables outdoors and are exploring high tunnels as a way to expand the season or improve plant quality. Information will be focused on using high tunnels in colder climates (US Climate Zones 4-6), but can be adapted to other growing regions.
By the end of this course growers will have the knowledge to do the following:
- Complete a basic site assessment and know when to bring in experts to discuss site limitations
- Make decisions to improve or maintain their soil health and fertility in the tunnel
- Select an appropriate high tunnel structure for their site, climate, and production needs
- Select and grow appropriate cold and/or warm season crops for the tunnel
- Employ pest control and trouble-shooting strategies for high tunnels
- Decide if high tunnels make economic, environmental, and social sense on the farm
Jud Reid is a regional vegetable specialist with the CCE Cornell Vegetable Program.
Crystal Stewart is a regional vegetable specialist with the CCE Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture Program.
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