High tunnels are structures used to lengthen the growing season, reduce pest and disease problems and enhance crop growth and quality. By capturing solar energy to raise the ambient temperature of the space inside the structure, high tunnels can maintain a growing environment that allows earlier planting in the Spring and later harvests in the Autumn. High tunnels are naturally ventilated and constructed of aluminum purlins and hoops covered with one or two layers of UV-resistant polyethylene plastic. The more permanent structures can usually last 20 years with proper construction.
High tunnels in West Virginia
Dr. Lewis Jett, WVU Extension Service Commercial Horticulture Specialist, has written several articles on high tunnels. Dr. Jett has also conducted studies of various crops raised within this type of structure. Below is a listing of WVU Extension resources related to high tunnel design, construction and use.
- Design and Construction of High Tunnels in W.Va.
- High Tunnel Temperature Management
- Economics of High Tunnel Vegetable and Strawberry Production
- High Tunnel Winter Cropping Systems – Presented by Lewis Jett at the 2010 West Virginia Small Farm Conference