In search of another way to increase your farm’s income potential? Tunnels are useful in extending the growing season to maximize your yields and reduce loss due to pests, diseases and weather. They are inexpensive and relatively simple to operate. To decide which option is best for you consider the following.
Functioning as a mini greenhouse, low tunnels warm the soil and provide a micro-climate for vegetables even during the winter months. Low tunnels can fit into any garden and can be made as large as needed. The soil does need to be sufficiently warm before anything will grow. Because of this, a low tunnel needs to be constructed a few weeks before it’s used. Once it’s warm enough low tunnels should provide plants ample protection, but adding a floating row cover and plastic milk jugs can ensure your plants have the right climate. On sunny days and during the warmer months, it’s important to ventilate low tunnels by removing the weights holding the plastic down. Broccoli, onions, kale, beets, cabbage and lettuce are just a few of the vegetables that do well in low tunnels.
High Tunnels (Hoop House)
These plastic covered structures are usually not heated and can be easily moved to protect different plants during the growing season. High tunnels are a great place for starting seeds as well as experimenting with alternative crops. In addition to extending the growing season, high tunnels provide some solar gain and allow for crops to be isolated and trialed. By not requiring a heating system, high tunnels are also cost effective. Irrigation is necessary since plants are shielded from rainfall. However, the benefit with an automatic irrigation system is you will be able to control how much water your plants get. Finally, the USDA offers a grant for a high tunnel through the Environmental Quality Incentive Program for farmers producing agricultural commodities.
For more information about tunnel farming contact one of United Country Real Estate’s farm experts today. We can help you find the farm of your dreams and maximize its earning potential.