Imagine, if you will, having the ability to plant strawberries in October, then harvesting a bumper crop eight months later in May of the following year instead of following the standard practice of planting in March and harvesting a bumper crop in May of the following year, fourteen months later. How about getting a jump on the growing season for tomatoes, and having your first tomato mature by June first? Well, we'll now have that capability. There will be a series of raised bed in the new high tunnel at RSF.
Inside the tunnel the temperature can be as much as twenty degrees warmer than the temperature outside. We have the opportunity to roll up the sides of the tunnel to cool things down if we want, and a ventilation fan is in the short term plans. Red Sunflower Farm received a grant through the Natural Resources Conservation Service, an agency of the U.S.D.A. to build the high tunnel, and have been very excited about the prospects of extending our growing season.
Barry is quick to point out that Martha, our science-minded winter intern, took charge of this project. She read the directions carefully, consulted with the manufacturer if anything was unclear, and supervised construction from beginning to end. We will most likely install 12 inch walkways and 18 inch beds to maximize the enclosed potential. We look forward to getting started on early spring vegetables such as broccoli as soon as possible.