Workshops for commercial fruit and vegetable producers interested in or having just built a high tunnel are scheduled for this fall. The workshop series supported by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is designed by horticulture specialists and will be held on the following dates:
• Wednesday, Nov. 5 — Beyond the Basics: High Tunnels – 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Heartland Acres Events Center, 2600 Swan Lake Boulevard, Independence. Prior attendance in the introductory class is recommended but not required.
• Wednesday, Nov. 18 — Introduction to High Tunnels – 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Cherry Glen Learning Farm, 3989 NW 94th Avenue, Polk City.
“High tunnels are an important tool in commercial fruit and vegetable production,” said Joseph Hannan, commercial horticulture specialist at Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. “Our beginning-level workshop provides the information needed to select, build and start growing produce in high tunnels. No prior experience is needed and we encourage any interested farmer to attend. Our workshop is intended for farmers who already have a high tunnel and are seeking additional production information.”
High tunnels are plastic-covered greenhouses used for fruit and vegetable production. Their unique design allows growers to extend the growing season for produce crops, giving farmers increased marketing opportunities for their commercial fruits and vegetables.
Hannan noted that high tunnels are frequently used by produce growers looking to expand production as well as traditional farmers seeking to diversify operations.
Topics covered at the all-day workshops include site and high tunnel selection, construction, soil management, irrigation, pest management, bed design, cropping systems, environmental control, tools to help growers succeed, new crops to consider, and effects of plastic mulch color. A high tunnel will be on-site for demonstration and a manual and resource guide will be provided.
The registration fee includes training materials, lunch and refreshments. No prior high tunnel experience is needed.
To register, call the ISU Extension and Outreach Dallas County office at 515-993-4281 or email Kathy Beni at firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline to register for the Beyond the Basics: High Tunnels workshop is Monday, Nov. 2, and the deadline for the Introduction to High Tunnels workshop is Monday, Nov. 13.