ShelterTech High Tunnel Greenhouse: A Large-Scale Farming Solution

large-scale farming

As a commercial farmer, you are always looking for the best ways to increase your large-scale farming yields. If you want to extend your growing season, you will need more greenhouse space to properly grow plants and vegetables. A high tunnel greenhouse could be the right solution for your large-scale farming needs.

Here’s how high tunnels can help your large-scale farming operation produce higher yields, so you’ll sell more locally grown goods.

What is a High Tunnel Greenhouse?

High Tunnel in a Field

High tunnel greenhouses are unheated structures  that can help commercial farmers extend their growing season. In addition, high tunnel greenhouses aid large-scale farming by extending the harvest by providing protection from the elements. The result is a more-stable production system that poses less risk of crop failure. They also help commercial farmers improve the profitability and productivity of their farms.

High tunnels are and cold frame greenhouses are sometimes referred to interchangeably.  High Tunnel Greenhouses are considered cold frame greenhouses, when  they don’t require heaters, fans, or other environment-controlling equipment. Rather, they simply consist of a translucent fabric cover, a steel frame, and rely solely on the sun for heat. To regulate internal temperature, high tunnel greenhouses are often ventilated  simply by lifting the side panels or unzipping the front or rear panel.

However, sometime high tunnel greenhouses can be customized with fans, heaters and other accessories. The ShelterTech High Tunnel Greenhouse, for example, can be used in both ways.

Also, high tunnels are generally more mobile than other greenhouse units. Although a high tunnel greenhouse should always be anchored, they have been developed to be versatile growing environments that can be disassembled and re-positioned or re-located relatively easily. Thanks in part to their ease of assembly, it’s simple to move your high tunnel from field to field depending on your farm’s crop rotation schedule.

A high tunnel greenhouse can be used to protect anything from tomatoes to flowers from harmful weather conditions. They also help to create  the perfect environment for your plants to thrive and survive. This option also allows you to extend your growing season with minimal investment.

Why Choose a ShelterTech High Tunnel Greenhouse?

High Tunnel Greenhouse Flowers

If you’re looking to grow bigger plants at a faster pace, the ShelterTech High Tunnel Greenhouse is your answer. One of the biggest innovations behind our high tunnel greenhouse is, in fact, its unique cover. Unlike many greenhouse covers on the market today, the ShelterTech High Tunnel Greenhouse features the trademark LUMINATE fabric material. This rugged translucent cover has been proven to effectively and more efficiently grow produce in a side by side study.

The durable eco-friendly polyethylene fabric cover is proven to retain heat and grow your crops more efficiently by reducing the amount of water that is used to grow plants and vegetables. It also diffuses the light, providing more even distribution to plants and vegetables while many other popular brands do not.

Did You Know Logo

Our LUMINATE greenhouse covers are more effective in growing plants and vegetables than the competition? Results from a side-by-side study show the benefits of our 5.5 oz., rip-stop polyethylene greenhouse cover compared to other standard translucent covers on the market.

Unlike many large-scale farming solutions, farmers and growers often must invest in a complete greenhouse if they want to purchase a building. However, customization is possible with the ShelterTech High Tunnel Greenhouse unit. Rather than purchasing a complete unit, farmers have the option of choosing only the elements that are pertinent to them. Meaning if you are not interested in a complete unit, but just want the frame, it’s possible to purchase it alone.

Customization is Key

You begin by choosing the shape of the building you desire, followed by the bundle of your choice. Then, configure your greenhouse building to the size specifications you desire and you’re good to go.

Your bundle options include:

high tunnel frame

Frame Only

You can choose from a greenhouse frame as small as 8 x 8 ft., or as large as 38 x 15 ft. You can customize your length up to 100 feet.

high tunnel frame and end panel

Frame + End Panel Frame Only

The convenient end panel frames allow you to install a fan or air vent at either end, helping you to control the environment for your crops.

high tunnel frame and cover

Frame + Cover Kit Only

In a side-by-side study, these greenhouse covers have proven more effective in growing plants and vegetables versus the competition.

high tunnel greenhouse full kit

Full Greenhouse Kit

The full ShelterTech High Tunnel Greenhouse kit includes the frame, end panel frames, and the polyethylene greenhouse cover.

These custom greenhouse options are perfect for large-scale farming because they can be configured up to 100 ft. in length. With the flexibility of so many size options, shapes and elements, it’s no wonder why so many farmers choose ShelterTech for their large-scale farming needs.

Advantages of a High Tunnel Greenhouse in Large-Scale Farming

High Tunnel Field

Sometimes it seems like nothing can be quite as unpredictable as the weather. For example, January cold spells in Florida or February thaws in New England often leave farmers playing guessing games.

Bad weather is just one factor that can have a negative effect on a farmer’s bottom line and lead to a poor season. Likewise, poor weather can lead to damaged or diseased crops, smaller yields, or zero return on harvests.

The sun will naturally heat your high tunnel greenhouse during the day. However, your greenhouse will cool down at night. Regardless, there are several natural and artificial ways to keep the crops in your high tunnel greenhouse above freezing levels.

High tunnels are most beneficial for large-scale farming because of their ability to extend the growing season and plant options. With a high tunnel, plants grow in a more controlled climate. This minimizes the impact of overly hot or cold weather and allowing you to get a jump start on growing.

These high tunnel units allow commercial farmers to maximize the harvest and make growing strong crops much easier. Wind, heavy rain or unexpected weather will be less likely to destroy or hinder your plant’s growth under a large and durable high tunnel.

Another advantage high tunnels offer is a level of protection from pests. These enclosed environments also minimize insects, birds, or other animals from attacking your efforts. And with that, they help reduce the need for pesticides and other repellent chemicals.

What Can You Grow in a High Tunnel Greenhouse

High tunnel greenhouses are terrific for extending the growing season from the fall to the winter. They are also excellent for overwintering dormant plants, and for getting a head start on spring planting. However, a high tunnel greenhouse can be used all year long to keep crops protected from the elements.

Do you want to use a high tunnel for large-scale farming? If so, then consider these highly desired crops that cost little to grow and can yield a high profit.

The sun will naturally heat your high tunnel greenhouse during the day. However, your greenhouse will cool down at night. Regardless, there are several natural and artificial ways to keep the crops in your high tunnel greenhouse above freezing levels.

beets large scale farming

Root Vegetables and Tubers: Simply put, root vegetables such as carrots are vegetables with edible roots. Tubers are similar because the edible part of the plant grows underground. In addition to carrots, the most common root vegetables include beets, radishes, onions, garlic, and turnips. Potatoes and sweet potatoes are the most common tubers.

pumpkins gourds large scale farming

Cucurbits: Cucurbits are a wide variety of vegetables that come in all shapes and sizes. Many are edible, while others are just decorative. These types of vegetables are actually very common. They include squash and pumpkins, gourds, cucumbers, and melons that are native to your growing area.

brussels sprouts large scale farming

Cold Hardy Vegetables: Broccoil, celery, peas, and brussels sprouts can be grown in the colder weather. These plants are tolerant to frost and can be grown in the late fall for an early spring harvest. They should be spaced far apart in your high tunnel, so the leaves don’t touch. Weaker plants need to be thinned out so the strong can survive.

Leafy Green Vegetables: Green vegetables such as lettuce, cabbage, kale, spinach, arugula, collards, and mustard have strong leaves that can withstand cold temperatures. These leafy vegetables can be grown in a high tunnel in less than two months. So, depending on your crop cycle, you can to bring a few harvests of leafy greens per year to market.

peppers large scale farming

Warm Weather Vegetables: Eggplant, bell peppers, and virtually any type of tomato can be grown in a high tunnel greenhouse. That’s because they are resistant to both foliar and soilborne diseases. However, these types of vegetables are not very frost tolerant. We recommend that you don’t try to grow them during the winter in cold regions.

tulips large scale farming

Fresh-Cut Flowers: Consumer demand for fresh, high-quality and readily available plants that are locally and sustainably produced. Domestic production of specialty cut flowers continues to increase across the country.  You can get a head start on the growing season of native flowers and get them to market quickly.

strawberries large scale farming

Fruits and Fruit Trees: In a high tunnel greenhouse, fruit trees, shrubs, and vines can be grown in the ground or in containers. Trees such as cherry, peach, apple, pear, and orange can be started in a high tunnel before transplanting outdoors. Grapes, strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries can be grown and harvested inside a high tunnel.

Taking Care of your High Tunnel Greenhouse

High Tunnel Maintenance

Even if you have the greenest thumb in the world, proper maintenance must to be performed on your high tunnel greenhouse for your crops to thrive. This includes meticulous cleaning and a proper maintenance check on a quarterly basis, or whenever you switch growing seasons.

High Tunnel Cleaning 2

Cleaning Your Greenhouse

To prevent harmful algae, mold, mildew, funguses, and diseases, it is recommended that you clean your high tunnel greenhouse. The cleaning and disinfecting of the greenhouse must be complete and thorough, so everything must be removed from inside. That includes benches, pots, tables, shelves, plants, and any equipment that is regularly stored inside it.

You can wash greenhouse items such as reusable pots, trays, shelves and more with soapy water. Once that’s done, let them sit in a solution of 3/4 cup oxygen bleach to one gallon of water. This will kill off any pathogens and diseases that could harm your crops.

Your cover and frame need to be thoroughly cleaned to eliminate all fungi, mold, and other microscopic pathogens. Use a soft brush with no sharp edges or a sponge, and a mild dish detergent and warm water, to thoroughly clean the frame and cover. You should not use a power washer to rinse the cover because it can damage the LUMINATE fabric.

High Tunnel Cleaning

Maintenance Check

When you’ve finished cleaning your high tunnel greenhouse, make sure all the pieces of your high tunnel are in place.

As you give your high tunnel an inspection, you should ensure bolts are secure on your frame. The cover should also be taut to the frame to resist tearing due to heavy winds and inclement weather. Also, make sure bungee fasteners aren’t missing or worn out, since they keep the cover secured to the frame. If the anchors seem to be loose, you should give each ratchet a few clicks.

water management large scale farming

Humidity and Water Management

High relative humidity in colder temperatures results in condensation forming on plants. Moisture from condensation allows plants to freeze easily in cold temperatures. However, that contributes to fungal pathogen pollutants such as mold, fungi, and powdery mildew. Additionally, that is the biggest threat to plant survival during the frigid winter months.

Overwatering plants brings natural humidity into the greenhouse. Water management can be simply regulated by limiting the times and levels of plant watering. Spacing plants accordingly to allow airflow to dry them and making sure spillages are quickly cleaned will also help.

Relative humidity can be very dangerous to plant health. Avoid moisture or condensation inside your shelter by purchasing a vent kit. This ensures a cool and dry interior to keep your cover and valuables inside safe from damage.

Minimum Investment, Maximum Return

High Tunnel Winter

High tunnel greenhouses are so valuable in large-scale farming because you have more control over your crops. Your plants grow faster, and your farm becomes more efficient. They can even reduce the need for pesticides.

But did you know the government can help you offset the cost of your investment in a high tunnel greenhouse? It’s called the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. If you qualify, that means your initial investment becomes even smaller, while you still get to enjoy those higher returns.

High tunnel greenhouses can be better for the environment, and better for your bottom line!

0 comments

    • Hi Victor,

      We use galvanized ASTM A500 Grade B/C USA manufactured carbon steel for ultimate durability and superior strength. Certified ASTM A653/A653M for ultimate corrosion resistance. 30-inch Base Pipes are buried 24 inches into the ground, anchoring securely, preventing racking. Patented ShelterLock® Stabilizers at every purlin connection prevents racking and adds rock-solid strength and stability to frame. These are just a few of the benefits of the High Tunnel! For more information please feel free to check out our High Tunnel page.

      Hope this helps!

  • ME I have a snow load I have about 6 inches to a foot a year maybe looking for a greenhouse Highpeak 38 foot wide 96 foot long Double polly six mill 6 foot high on the sides with roll up 4 foot size that can be reattached at the bottom with wire hooks for the double poly during the winter months can you help me with this thank you have a nice day and keep smiling

    • Hi Wayne,

      Our High-tunnel will fit almost all of these requirements, minus the roll up bottom. To discuss in more detail please give us a call at 1-800-932-9344.

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