High Tunnel Grant = Build!

This winter we became the lucky recipients of a USDA NRCS High Tunnel Grant, which helps growers to build solar greenhouse structures for season extension, a welcome boon here in the short growing season of Northern Michigan.
Although we suffered some trepidation about taking the leap after our hoophouse disaster last spring, we selected, after some deliberation, a Michigan company, Keeler-Glasgow, to build the high tunnel structure. Lucky as his crew take great pride in their workmanship, fabricating every piece of the structure, and quickly and efficiently building the hoophouse here at Echo Bend.

In just 2 days they assemble the hoops…

Lucky and Bill begin to put up the hoops.

…build the end walls…

Putting up polycarbonate end walls

Hoops and end walls up!

…and cover the structure with plastic.

Plastic on roll-up side walls

Fine tuning roll-up sides

Wrapping a building in a huge sheet of plastic is a tricky business!

Willa watches anxiously as Lucky’s team of 4 wrangle the plastic onto the hoops and quickly tighten it down.

Surveying nearly-complete hoophouse.

It didn’t take us long before we were planning out the beds for future plantings and digging in the dirt!

Dirty hands, happy kids.

The hoophouse beds are all completely planted with heat-loving plants like tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, eggplants, and melon. I love the functionality of the high tunnel so far, and I am really looking forward to planting in the fall for winter greens. I have much to learn in this new enterprise, but years of studying Eliot Coleman should serve me well!

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