High tunnels boost Kenai orchard
The expansive green space is the result of four-decades of experimentation and the recent move to indoor growing for the agricultural operation.
Link to the full article: http://peninsulaclarion.com/news/2014-06-22/how-to-use-a-high-tunnel
Alaska gardening interest booms, as tunnels extend growing season
Joseph Robertia, Redoubt Reporter
May 2, 2014
(excerpt) “This will be our third year with a high tunnel, and they’re unbelievable,” said Bill Lynch, of North Kenai, who along with this wife, Liz, led the discussion on this subject.
“We used to be limited to the usual Alaskan crops: cabbage, carrots, broccoli, etc. But now I grow fruit, like melons and blackberries, and artichokes and tomatoes,” he said. Having high tunnels increases what he grows, and it also increases how much and for how long.
“It used to be all the produce we grew would come ripe all at the same time, but now we can harvest fresh produce year-round. We got three full crops of carrots last year. We planted tomatoes by April 15th and by the first of May we were already harvesting. We ended up getting 400 pounds of tomatoes and 2,000 pounds of produce total last year from our unheated high tunnel. It would be 10 degrees outside, but inside the plants were fine,” he said.
Lynch said that the high tunnel was responsible for much of his success, but he also learned about using smaller low tunnels, within the larger one, to exponentially increase solar heat to plants. He said the concept is one that should be familiar to many Alaskans — dressing in layers to stay warm.
“Studies have shown the more layers, the more heat is retained,” he said. “Each tunnel over a plant is equivalent to moving one and a half zones warmer, or 500 miles south. This means a high tunnel will bring you to a growing season equal to northern Kansas, and adding a low tunnel in the high tunnel will move you to a growing season similar to Oklahoma.”
Despite a slow start to the season, the Central Peninsula’s high tunnels have made up the lost time by yielding some impressive produce. Come check out some of this year’s abundance by attending the 2013 High Tunnel Tour. The tour features high tunnels from three different manufacturers and a variety of ventilation and irrigation systems. Times and locations are as follows:
Saturday, Aug. 10
1:00 pm – Suzanne Phillips, 35′ x 60′ Farm Tek Pro Solar Star with roll-down sides
Driveway is located on the North side of K-Beach between Ciechanski and Diamond M Ranch, directly across from Mosey Along. Look for the Phillips arch over the long driveway. High tunnel is visible on the right as you turn onto Grant.
3:00 pm – Travis Keller, two 24′ x 32′ Farm Tem Pro Solar Stars
In Soldotna, take Irons Ave. off Kenai Spur. Look for the greenhouse behind Lucky Raven Tobacco.
Saturday, Aug. 24
2:00 pm – Ginger Bouton, 30′ x 72′ Oregon Valley, semi-gabled
Take Poppy Lane to the college then go left on Poppy Ridge. Turn right on Bonita, go one block. Turn left on Fern Forest. Boutons are at 35656 Fern Forest Street.
4:00 pm – Ron Homan, 30′ x 48′ Rimol Nor’Easter
At mile 12.5 K-Beach turn left on Equestrian. Go one block to a “T” and turn left. Go to the log house on the right at the dead end.
See you at the 2013 High Tunnel Tour!
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