High Tunnel Production
Our high tunnel research and extension programs focus on improving soil conditions for continuous vegetable production in organic high tunnels. We share our research results and experiences to educate local growers on how to maintain a sustainable soil for their own high tunnel vegetable production.
The most common soil-fertility problem accompanying high tunnel production is the build up of salt (nitrogen, sodium, potassium, and phosphorus). Our research helps address soil issues by exploring different types of compost as nutrient sources, double cropping methods, and various crop rotations.
We have three semi-permanent high tunnel structures on certified organic land at the SWROC. We've grown a variety of vegetables in our tunnels including tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, potatoes, sweet potatoes, table beets, cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.
What are high tunnels?
High tunnels are arched structures with plastic sheets covering the frame and vents on the side. High tunnels differ from greenhouses in two ways: 1) supplemental light is not used, and 2) plants are nearly always grown in the soil.
High tunnels extend the growing season in Minnesota by allowing crops to be planted and harvested both earlier and later in the growing season. They also protect plants from environmental stresses and lower the amount of pressure from diseases, insects and weeds.
For more information on high tunnels, visit Minnesota High Tunnels.