How to build a high tunnel
Amanda Ferguson Department of Horticulture University of Kentucky
High tunnels are used primarily as season-extenders. The sunny days in March and April in Kentucky canwarm tunnels, allowing production of warm-season crops such as tomatoes and cucumbers. In the fall when the days are shorter and frost threatens, tunnels can capture heat from the sun and protectplants at night. We hope to extend cold-season vegetable production through the winter by utilizing the warmth of the tunnels in an economically desirable way. Tables 1 and 2 show the construction costsof University of Kentucky High Tunnels.
Table 1. University of Kentucky High Tunnel Construction Cost Estimates per Tunnel (Tunnel dimensions of 10’ by 40’). Materials and Costs per Single HighTunnel.
Materials Wood for two endwalls (16 boards, 10’X2“X4”) Plastic, 4-mil clear (24’X 43’) 1/2 inch nylon rope (55’) 3/8 ih nylon rope (50’) 6 anchors (1"X15" galvanized pipe) 4 anchors (1"X30"galvanized pipe) 4 anchors (1"X40" galvanized pipe) Plastic mulch (1-mil, black, 4’X2000’) Trickle irrigation (10ml 6000ft at $116.00) 7 PVC pipe (1.25"x 20’,schedule 40) Door installation accessoriesNails Total Cost $50.00 $71.00 $37.95 $29.50 $32.94 $23.96 $25.96 $1.22 $1.64 $18.76 $14.00 $2.75 $309.68
Table 2. Synopsis of Costs for the University of Kentucky High Tunnels per Square Foot. Aspectof Tunnel Construction Cost Dimensions of High Tunnel 10’ by 40’ Materials and Supplies per Square Foot $0.57 Plastic and Irrigation per Square Foot $0.18 Total Cost per Square Foot $0.75
HighTunnel Construction: 1. Prepare the field to your own specifications. The planting can either be done from seed or with transplants where the tunnel will be placed, preferably before the tunnels go up,since it will be more labor intensive after construction. 2. Construct end walls. Although we used a very basic design, this can vary according to the materials at hand and what is best for you. The...
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