High Tunnel Garden
A high tunnel garden is typically a field garden covered by a temporary plastic structure. Essentially it is a greenhouse with a garden inside. The micro-climate created within the structure is ideal for growing plants. Many kit designs are available for purchase. The plastic walls and doors are able to be raised and lowered to trap or release heat, and protect from inclement weather. The high tunnel garden is where I like to grow those crops that need a longer growing time then our climate allows. I also get an early start on many vegetables, and I am able to grow longer into our falls. The first harvests come from crops like kale, spinach, radishes and lettuces. Though these vegetables are very suitable to grow outdoors in our early springs, I am typically harvesting these varieties by the end of may when most of us are just beginning to plant them outdoors. High tunnels are a great way to extend the typical 90 day growing season we are accustomed to. Our average last frost date is June 10th, and our average first frost date is September 1st. Because of the high tunnel my growing season lasts typically from March until November. This allows me to grow things like okra, and I can start many vegetables from seed rather than purchasing multiple transplants. When you are looking for seeds and transplants it is always a good idea to look for varieties that will reach maturity within 90 days when growing outdoors in our area.