SDSU Extension will host a two day movable high tunnel construction workshop on Nov. 6 and 7. The workshop agenda will include hands on step by step construction demonstration from start to finish.
 
Also included will be presentations on how to choose and build high tunnels for both fixed and movable structures, seasonal crop selection and nutrient and water management in a high tunnel. The workshop will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days at Hebda family produce located at 30661, 444th Avenue in Mission Hill near Yankton.
 
Since this is the same day as the election, please vote early if you plan to attend.
 
The cost for the workshop is $45 for two days and $35for one day per person. Registration includes lunch and refreshments. For information about the workshop and how to register please contact Geoffrey Njue, SDSU Extension Specialty Crops Field Specialist at the Sioux Falls Regional Extension Center at 605-782-3290 or email [email protected].
 
High tunnels are unheated plastic covered relatively inexpensive structures in which crops are grown directly in the soil. They help producers extend their production season improve yields and extend the marketing window for their crops. High tunnels also help growers produce quality produce earlier than field crops which gives them higher prices at the market.
 
Continuous production year after year in a fixed high tunnel presents a problem of salt build up in the soil which leads to reduced crop vigor and reduced yield. By utilizing movable high tunnels growers can avoid the problems associated with fixed high tunnels such salt build up because moving the tunnel exposes the soil to weather elements of rain and snow that help leach the salts.
 
"With movable tunnels growers are able to take advantage of both a protected production and an open field production," Njue said.
 
Participants will learn about high tunnel design, construction, and management during the workshop. They will have an opportunity to participate in construction of a movable high tunnel from start to finish. Some of the specific topics to be addressed during the program include how to select and build a high tunnel, fertility and irrigation management, and crop selection.
 
Commercial fruit or vegetable growers currently in business, as well as those with an interest in expanding into commercial production, will benefit from this workshop.
 
The SDSU Extension is sponsoring this workshop with partial funding provided by the South Dakota Department of Agriculture.