[Market-farming] high Tunnels

Robin Follette list at seasonseatingsfarm.com
Thu Mar 17 09:34:59 EDT 2011

I have three. The sturdiest is a Rimol Northpoint. If I were going to add another tunnel it would be from Rimol. I clean the snow off the two sunny sides so that I don't have igloos that are too dark for plants to grow.  I don't worry about it collapsing. My 38 pound overly-enthusiastic puppy climbed up the crusty snow to the peak about a month ago in an attempt to find a way in. No problems with snow load AND a puppy.  

If you have two people and a rope you can make a quick sweep during a storm to help ease the weight. Put one person on each side, throw the rope over and walk the length of the tunnel. It will loosen the snow so that the wind blows it off or it slides down.

If you can spend the money up front to get the strength you need you'll appreciate the peace of mind and dependability. I believe it's less expensive in the long run when you live in a high-snow area. I'm in northeastern Maine (still have 6" of solid pack on the ground).

>>We just got high-tunnel funding through EQIP and are looking at a 30 X 96 Rolling Thunder.  I'd love to hear anyone's experience with these houses. 

I have Rolling Thunder envy. I don't *need* another tunnel but I *want* a Rolling Thunder. Eliot Coleman sketched his rotation plan in the dirt (still had snow on the ground) for me two or three years ago. It was extremely helpful to see it even in the dirt.  He was going to be able to cover 6,000 sq ft over the course of a year with a 1,000 sq ft tunnel. I've considered selling my Quonset hut style tunnel so that I have room for a Rolling Thunder.  If EQUIP allows it, I'd absolutely choose this tunnel.

>>Also- I've heard that simply cleaning the sidewalls with a bucket loader, plow, or blower is sufficient, as it will let the roof slide, and you wont' need to shovel or rake the roof.  Any thoughts?

We use a snow blower to clear a 3-4' strip along the sides of the tunnels. I'm in a high snow area and I do use the tunnels in the winter so they need to be cleared. It's not quite that simple here. The snow doesn't usually slide without my help. I work alone in the winter so a rope doesn't work for me on regular after-storm clean up. I've started carefully using a roof rake. That gets it going from the top down and works well most of the time.  There are three steps to what we do: Snow blow the new snow if there's more than 6". Rake the roof. Snow blow again. We leave at least a foot of snow a foot or two up the side wall as insulation. This does block some sun but it blocks it mostly where the ground freezes anyway.


Robin Follette
Lancaster News   (http://lancasterfarming.com)
   Columnist & Feature writer
Maine Nature News ( http://mainenature.org)
Seasons Eatings Farm  (http://seasonseatingsfarm.wordpress.com)
   Talmadge ME

From: somersfarm at dishmail.net 
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 7:43 AM
To: 'Market Farming' 
Subject: [Market-farming] high Tunnels

Hi there,

During the last snow storm a few weeks ago we lost two 30 x 80 High Tunnels.  Such a devastating blow to our business!  We absolutely have to replace one of them this year in order to somewhat function.  I am wondering for those of you who live in high snow and high wind areas, where you purchased your high tunnels.  We were so diligent to clean the snow off the tops and sides throughout each snow storm, but the last storm was heavy wet snow that came overnight.  Thanks ahead for any help you can be.


Kathy Somers

Somers Family Farm

Barnet, VT  05821

visit us on www.facebook.com/somersfamilyfarmstand
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