Even though the weather forecast included rain and severe thunderstorms, yesterday morning dawned warm and sunny. The perfect day to build a high tunnel and we certainly took advantage of it. With the help of Mark Walden, Assistant Director of Grow Appalachia, and a small crew, the pile of wood, metal posts and a roll of plastic were transformed into our next step into sustainability – our first high tunnel.
A high tunnel is solar heated and manually vented. It can be used to lengthen the growing season for many crops. It protects the crops from the elements, as well as from insects and diseases. Because high tunnels are not green houses, they don’t require any electricity or heat. And, the crops are grown directly in the soil.
According to LCAAHC’s Director, Wayne Riley, over the next days and weeks, our 12 x 40 high tunnel will become home to a crop of tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and other vegetables that need extra protection right now. This will help us get a small jump on the growing season and open up four season gardening. It will enable us to grow vegetables well into the fall and winter months. It will educate the participants and assist with the expansion and sustainability of the LCAAHC Grow Appalachia Program.