Why a Tunnel?
The 10 Reasons Why a Tunnel Garden Is …Incredible!
1. They are low to the ground. The earth has radiant heat. The key is to trap that heat in and benefit from it. Therefore these gardens are short and have less air space. All that heat is kept hovering around the vegetables. This is simple but often overlooked by most gardeners who think a large greenhouse is the dream, but because of their size the warm air lifts right to the top and the plants freeze.
2. Outside insulating layer. The purpose of this layer of tough 6 mil greenhouse plastic is to trap the heat and protect the plants from wind, rain and snow.
3. Inner layer of insulation. The inner layer is a special agricultural fabric that was designed to trap heat in. It raises the temperature 6 – 10 degrees while still allowing the sun’s ultra violet rays to pass through to the plant. These rays are the plants lifeblood. In addition, this inner layer of insulation protects the plants from any moisture which may condense at the top of the tunnel and then drop onto the cold brittle plant thus damaging it.
4. Durable Construction. We use tough materials that will last many years. Our tunnels have stood up to ferocious 80 mph winds and heavy wet snows of over 2 feet. It has served us in horrid weather and withstood the test.
5. Air tight. The key is to keep the plastic tight to the ground so that all the earth’s radiant heat is trapped inside. We use burlap bags filled with dirt or sand (your choice) to line the edges.
6. Easy to set up. With some practice you can set up a tunnel garden in 30 minutes. We recommend a rookie plan to take a couple of hours and have a friend nearby to help in some spots. See "Easy Set Up" for more details.
7. Simple to work in. Most people think upon first sight that we need to crawl through these cute little Tunnel Gardens to plant and harvest. Not so. Just remove a few of the burlap bags, lift the plastic up (completely over the top if you like) and work away playing in the dirt or harvesting by leaning into the tunnel. Then when you are finished, lower the plastic, replace the weights, and adjust them so the garden is air tight again.
8. Plants love the cold. Carrots, onions, lettuce, spinach, kale, cabbage, broccoli, and peas especially Many plants actually grow better in cold weather. Greens never grow bitter as they do in the summer’s heat. The cold actually brings out the sweetness in the vegetables.
9. Neglect encouraged. Most gardeners don’t dream of donning their winter ski caps and mittens so they can play with frozen hoses while tromping through snow. We agree. Winter neglect is welcome. The tunnels are very humid – so watering in the winter is rarely necessary. No bugs in the winter. No weeds. In the winter I harvest once a week on a sunny day – and that is all the work there is.
10. So versatile. Grow all 4 seasons. We always leave the large hoops in the ground. In the early summer we trellis the viney plants up the poles to the cord. In the late summer before the first frost we cover the plants that aren’t quite mature with the outer plastic to add a few weeks of growing to ripen those last stubborn melons and tomatoes. In the early fall, we plant our winter crop and add the inner insulating layer. In the spring, get a couple months start on the season witht your favorite summer fruits, vegetables and flowers. When the weather warms up, remove the plastic and insulating fabric and your garden is thriving just as the neighbors get tilling.