[Market-farming] Hi Tunnel innovations

Beth Spaugh lists at rhomestead.com
Mon Jan 18 11:45:15 EST 2016

I have grown/harvested year-round for 11 years.  I am looking to cut 
back and take some mental time off in the winter.  Marketing is by far 
my least favorite farm activity, and I want a break.  Also, it will ease 
the timing stress of still harvesting one thing but wanting to plant 
summer crops.  And will give the soil a little break.

But I am a one-woman show.  If your son needs year-round income, and you 
are providing for two families, year-round will certainly help. There 
were years when I covered my expenses during the growing season and made 
my "income" from fall/winter sales.

I'd like to see how MSU used twine for the row cover.  We took 10-foot 
conduit, bent it into very wide/flat
U shape (Iike 18" legs) and used it for row cover.  One our 26-foot wide 
it takes two that have one end bent and one with both ends bent, 
zip-tied together so cover the whole thing, with just enough edge room 
to squeeze by.

Here is a link to a photo: 

On 1/18/2016 8:21 AM, Shoemaker, William H wrote:
> Thought I'd share this to stimulate the list a bit. Seems like its 
> been pretty dormant this winter.
> I first learned about tunnels for growing crops about 20 years ago, 
> through the academic community I was part of, especially New 
> Hampshire. I built my first one in 1998 and it changed my perspective 
> on market farming enormously. Since then, tunnels have become 
> well-established on market farms all over the world. I suspect almost 
> all subscribers to this list who actually run or work on a market farm 
> have at least one tunnel for growing crops. One of the great things 
> that seemed to happen after growers began to use them was innovation. 
> Growers had great ideas for how to adjust management of tunnels, or 
> even make changes to the tunnel itself to better position themselves 
> for success in the market. Keeping in mind that everyone has a unique 
> market, I'm curious if anyone would like to share an innovation they 
> adopted, or created, that gave them an advantage in their market.
> While I'm not growing commercially, yet, I expect to. I'm selling my 
> house and will look for a property where we can set ourselves up for 
> sustainable living and a market farming operation. I'll be 64 in a few 
> months but I'm in very good physical condition and will be looking to 
> benefit from the work involved. However, at least one of my sons wants 
> to be involved as well, so I'll be able to pace myself. But I want to 
> be able to have product in the marketplace 12 months/year. I think 
> that will have a great benefit to the business. So I intend to use row 
> covers inside the tunnels to keep the crops thriving during the colder 
> times of the year. I really like the design John Berbaum at Michigan 
> State was advocating a few years ago, where he had the cover suspended 
> above the crops and drawn from one side of the tunnel across a pipe 
> framework that held it up. He could use twine to pull the whole piece 
> of row cover uniformly across the crop, or back into the side. This 
> reduced effort and time to use the cover, and improved the crop at the 
> same time.
> That's my contribution. Anyone have other ideas that improved their 
> tunnel operation?
> Bill
> *William H. Shoemaker *
> /Retired fruit and vegetable horticulturist/
> /University of Illinois/
> wshoemak at illinois.edu <mailto:wshoemak at illinois.edu>
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Beth Spaugh
Rehoboth Homestead, Peru NY
http://rhomestead.com      http://www.facebook.com/rhomestead

"How we eat determines, to a considerable extent, how the world is used." -
Wendell Berry

"Without power over our food, any notion of democracy is empty." - Frances
Moore Lappe

It's not that nice guys finish last. They have a whole different notion
where the finish line is. - unknown

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