High Tunnels; Good For Growin'
High Tunnels "Hoop Houses" are a green-house like structure.Although, unlike greenhouses their ends are wide open.
At the beginning of every season we wake up very early to put them up ! This is because there has to be no wind, otherwise we might blow away with the plastic. The break of dawn tends to be the best weather conditions... sometimes we think Farmer Steve just likes to make us wake up early ;) . We lower them in the fall so that the weight of the snow during winter, does not ruin them.
What is their purpose?
These structures help protect our more sensitive crops from certain elements.
They provide optimum growing conditions for these types of crops.
Some of our crops do not stand up quite as well to elements as others. We keep tomatoes, raspberries and melons under these tunnels to give them best growing conditions. These fruits have soft skins, so when hard rains or hail hit them, it can really damage the fruit. These crops do love the heat, the tunnels help keep the heat in while minimizing the exposure to sun rays.
Pollination is very important for plant growth and development. With open ends, the breeze & bees can bring pollen to the plants.
The tunnels also protect the fruits from hungry birds! They love plucking raspberries, but the tunnels deter the birds away, they do not like to fly underneath.
At Coopers, sustainable farming is important to us, we need to take care of our land. These tunnels provide such good growing conditions for these plants, that potential pest control is greatly reduced. The open ends also allow us to fit equipment inside so that we can till up the soil when needed, and add manure to make the soil matter even more healthy.
In a world with a lot of plastic problems, everyone is trying to greatly reduce their single plastic use, Including us! These tunnels are covered with plastic but we can get quite a few years out of them. We just replaced them this spring, 2019. We have 6 tunnels in total, 4 tunnels lasted 8 years and the other 2 lasted 6!
Just a little farm for thought on how we can super charge our crops growing conditions in simply ways to make your produce the best it can be!