Hoop houses, also called high tunnels, make growing vegetables possible long after the first frost or before the first thaw. The structure is an enclosed polyethylene, polycarbonate, plastic or fabric covered structure that protects crops from wind, excessive rainfall, and cold temperatures and extends the growing season in an environmentally safe manner. The high tunnel system requires crops to be grown in the soil or in raised beds. The system requires no heat or fans, thereby reducing the energy footprint required by traditional greenhouses. Under this production system, there is a more efficient use of water and an opportunity to utilize the biology of the soil to improve growth and production.
These high tunnels can be more expensive to install in an urban area. The SWCD worked to raise additional funds to match the cost-share provided by USDA-NRCS’ EQIP Program to reduce the cost of a high tunnel for residents.
If you are interested in applying for an urban high tunnel, contact the Conservation District today!