By Jessica Ballard
Do you gaze longingly out the window for a chance to feel the soil under your fingers again? Is wintertime wearing down your summery soul? Fear not, my farm friends! I have the cure for you. Build yourself a high tunnel!
These houses can serve as a magical wonderland no matter what the weather is like outside. We currently have two 12 x 40 foot high tunnels at our facility (and plan to build several more through the NRCS EQUIP program).
I have those structure to thank, along with some bright, sassy nail polish, for lifting me out of the winter funk!
On a dreary, snow and ice covered winter day, I was found blissfully pulling weeds. Yes, you heard that correctly… PULLING WEEDS… and preparing beds in our high tunnels!
Clearly, high tunnels provide a number of wonderful benefits for farmers, gardeners and consumers. They provide a jump start on the growing season, and allow for extended season production of vegetables and flowers. They can even allow for a more controlled growing environment, and even promote longer stems for cut flowers, among other wonderful incentives.
But who knew how fabulous high tunnels could be for fighting this winter funk? Having a wind-free, solar heated environment, protected from slush and snow in the middle of winter, in my mind is akin to having an oasis in the desert!
In six months I’ll be so sick of pulling weeds in the field that I won’t know what to do with myself. For now, I am giving thanks for this tedious task at hand and enjoying every bit of it!