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US (OR): Incorporating high tunnels into a diversified organic vegetable farm

In a collaboration between Gathering Together Farm (GTF) and Oregon State University (OSU), three high tunnels (Haygroves) were constructed side by side in January of 2003 on site at GTF. For the last three years, data has been collected in order to analyze high tunnel performance within the context of a diversified organic vegetable farm.

Gathering Together Farm is a 40 acre organic farm in the Willamette Valley that markets produce through a CSA, farmers markets, and direct sales to restaurants. When the high tunnels were constructed in 2003, GTF had 11 smaller greenhouses in use totaling 25,000 square feet. This report summarizes the experiences of the farmers over the three year trial.


Three high tunnels at Gathering Together Farm, Philomath, Oregon. Photo credit: Galen Weston, Tuolumne River Trust

History of high tunnels at GTF
In January of 2001, 5 GTF employees spent 2 full days constructing the three tunnels. In the first growing season, High Tunnel 1 (HT 1) was used for 3 beds of potatoes planted February 15, and two beds of tomatoes planted April 4. High Tunnel 2 (HT 2) contained 1.5 rows of both peppers and eggplants planted May 1, 1 row of basil planted April 20 and 2 rows of zucchini planted April 20. High Tunnel 3 (HT 3) contained 1.5 rows of cucumbers planted June 1, 2.5 rows of tomatoes planted June 1, and 1 row of okra planted June 1.

In 2004, HT 1 was home for 2.5 rows of tomatoes, 2 rows of zucchini, and 0.5 rows of basil all planted on April 25. HT 2 contained salad mix sown in mid February, followed by 2 beds of peppers planted May 1, 1 bed of eggplant planted May 1, 0.5 bed of hot peppers planted May 1, 1 bed of cucumbers planted in June, 1 bed of late basil planted at the end of August, and 1 bed of okra planted June 1. Half of HT 3 was planted to early carrots on February 5 and potatoes in February 5. On June 1, storage tomatoes were planted following the carrots.

In 2005, each tunnel had an early and late crop. HT 1 was seeded with salad mix in mid February, which was harvested during the month of April. Following the salad mix crop, 2 rows each of zucchinis and peppers and 1 row of eggplant were transplanted. In HT 2, carrots were sown on January 9 and again on February 9th. One bed each of peppers and eggplants were transplanted following the potatoes and 3 beds of storage tomatoes were planted on June 1st following the carrots. In HT 3, 2 beds of endive and 3 beds of head lettuce were transplanted on February 20th. Following the lettuce harvest in mid April, 1 bed of basil and 4 beds of tomatoes were transplanted.

Read the full case study here.

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