Choosing Your High Tunnel
Types of High Tunnels
The style of high tunnel you use will largely depend on what you’re looking to grow. FarmTek offers ClearSpanTM High Tunnels in a variety of styles to meet your specific needs. With so many options to choose from, it can be hard to know what’s right. We’ve put together a short list highlighting some of our most popular high tunnels and the features that make them unique.
- Series 500 Extra-Tall High Tunnels have extra-tall side walls for more growing space. This is a good high tunnel for those looking to grow taller crops, and with a height of 17’4-15/16” you’ll be able to operate and get machinery in and out of the tunnel relatively easy. These high tunnels come with your choice of Sun Master® or PolyMax® covers.
- Premium Round Style High Tunnels are easily ventilated with sides that roll up with a “Twist-of-the-Wrist.” A Premium Round Style that is at least 20’ wide has two end panel options: zippered or roll up. Both end options are 10 oz., 22 mil premium rip-stop translucent fabric, and offer convenient entry. There are also Rolling Premium Round Style High Tunnels, which roll to offer superior ventilation and easy crop rotation. These are perfect for hot and humid climates where added temperature and humidity control is needed.
- Economy Round Style High Tunnels span from 20’ to 30’ wide and come as long as 96’. They are the perfect high tunnel to start with, and because they’re cost effective you can experiment with exactly how a high tunnel can benefit your business.
- Gro-Max High Tunnels have 6’ side walls that are perfect for those looking to maximize their growing space. These high tunnels allow for added height, without being too tall. You can get these with Roll-Up or Drop-Down sides, and the doors easily open with a hand-crank assembly. Gro-Max High Tunnels come with your choice of Sun Master or PolyMax covers.
- Add-A-Bay High Tunnels are ideal for expanding businesses. These high tunnels allow you to easily add on to your high tunnel as demand for your products grows. These high tunnels share side walls, so they are also a good option for those looking for multiple tunnels in smaller spaces.
With all of these different styles, there is sure to be one that will suit your needs.
Setting Up a High Tunnel
When browsing our high tunnels one of the first things you’ll notice is the reasonable price. Constructing a commercial greenhouse can cost a staggering $20 per square foot, and they can take years to recoup their money. A high tunnel can cost less than $2.50 per square foot, and they’ve become very popular due to the fact that once they’re constructed you can recoup your investment in as little as one or two growing seasons.
Ventilation plays a key role in the function of high tunnels, so they should be constructed in an area that gets plenty of air flow. High tunnels get the best cross ventilation when they are set up perpendicular to the prevailing winds. Most of the time, this means that the high tunnel should be constructed in a north-south orientation. If you’re unable to situate your high tunnel in a north-south direction there is no need to worry, as many growers have had success constructing high tunnels in an east-west direction. The tunnel should also be put in an area that gets regular sunlight and isn’t shaded by trees or buildings. Shade can be especially detrimental in the Spring or Fall when plants need high temperatures to thrive. Plant spacing is also important to ventilation. Maintaining proper space between plants allows for air flow, which can reduce humidity and limit the growth of fungus and mold. Proper plant spacing also allows you to maneuver and tend to plants without stepping on or damaging crops.
Using a ClearSpan high tunnel is the perfect way to optimize your growing season. It will extend the period of time you’re able to grow, while also protecting your crops from poor weather, disease and pests. All of these factors contribute to a higher yield of high-quality crops.