Can you envision enjoying fresh, locally grown tomatoes and cucumbers for six months rather than three? This is a reality, not a dream, as more producers around the country are using "high tunnels" to extend the growing season of horticultural crops. It has become a popular and profitable method to produce high-value crops. High tunnels are simple, tall, plastic-covered structures used for the production of fruits and vegetables, cut flowers, and many other crops. They resemble greenhouses but cost less to erect and operate.
Bill Campbell, a third-generation owner of a fruit and vegetable business near Harlan, Iowa, is growing tomatoes under a 96-foot-long high tunnel for the first time this year. He is so impressed with the crops and production that he intends to construct another one this fall.
Bill will be one of three speakers at a workshop on horticulture production in high tunnels to be held at the Iowa State University Armstrong Research and Demonstration Farm near Lewis, Iowa, on September 12, 2005. Workshop participants will be able to tour a new high tunnel and bio-heated greenhouse. Speakers will provide valuable information for anyone interested in learning more about the construction and use of high tunnels to extend the growing season and increase production.
The workshop begins at 4:30 p.m. with a self-guided tour, followed by an "All-Iowa" dinner. The first presentation begins at 6 p.m. The cost is $15 per person ($10 for students). Preregistration is required; the registration deadline is September 5. For more information, call your local county Iowa State University Extension office or go to www.extension.iastate.edu/PME.
This workshop is being sponsored by Brickyard Orchard, FarmTek, Iowa State University Extension, Iowa State University Sustainable Agriculture, and the Wallace Foundation for Rural Research and Development.
This article originally appeared on page 150 of the IC-494(19) -- July 18, 2005 issue.