Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Hi, Tunnel

When they asked the quite contrary Mary "how does your garden grow?" she might have answered "under a high tunnel" if she lived where I do now. I mean, mid-winter fresh produce in New Hampshire sounds pretty contrary to me...

High tunnels, or hoop houses - but don't call them greenhouses - are large structures build of metal framing and covered in plastic under which you plant in the ground. This allows for more control of the environment - temperature, light, water - and for longer growing seasons. They make eating local in the winter possible even for people who live above the Mason Dixon and east of, well, California. 

This past weekend I went to a high tunnel workshop in Unity, Maine. 

 On the drive home it was hard not to see high tunnels... It was one of those phenomenons of once you are 'tuned in' to an idea, you see it everywhere... this is one of the roadside attractions somewhere in Maine.  

This spring we are building one here at The Community School. We are getting ours from Ledgewood Farms, so I went over to see for myself what they look like, what size I might want - basically to "talk shop" with the guys in the shop.

At first I was skeptical that a high tunnel was the right thing for the TCS farm this year. But after talking to Rob at Ledgewood, and attending a GREAT workshop, I am sold! I can't wait for this new structure and to grow beneath it.

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