1.What is a HighTunnel?
A Hightunnel is a solar heated greenhouse 'Usually' with no electrical or automated ventilation that is used to extend the crop production season for many horticulture crops. Crops that are produced within high tunnels are grown in the ground or in raised beds with drip irrigation. Greenhouses are heated systems that have foundations and are energy dependent whereas a Hightunnel utilizes Passive Solar. 2. Do I need to have a building permit for my HighTunnel?
High tunnels are considered to be impermanent structures and protected under the "Right to Farm Act." Nevada County has determined that no permit is needed for farmers installing a Hightunnel.
2. How does a low tunnel differ from a HighTunnel?
In a nutshell, you can stand upright in even an inexpensive high tunnel, but low tunnels are too short. Basically, low tunnels can be constructed by placing wire hoops, spaced 3 to 4’ apart and about 1.5’ high at the apex, over a row of crop to provide additional protection from the cold. A new practice that has shown success is to place a low-tunnel inside of a Hightunnel.
3. Where should I place a Hightunnel on my farm?
A Hightunnel should be placed on a level, well-drained, accessible site. BUT, many choose to build their Hightunnels on a slope or grade.
4. Should I grow vegetables in a Greenhouse or a Hightunnel?
Input costs for Greenhouse vegetable production are significantly higher relative to Hightunnel vegetable production. Greenhouses cost approximately $6-$12 sq ft or almost five times the cost of a Hightunnel.
10. What is the optimal orientation for a high tunnel?
Unlike greenhouses, orienting a High-tunnel for sunlight is not as crucial as long as the the Hightunnel gets ample sun. Although having the long side facing south is best if you are going to"force Flowering". In a windy location a Hightunnel should be oriented in a direction that faces the Endwall toward the prevailing winds


Remember, all ventilation is manual, or passive solar- so you depend on the wind to ventilate your house. In the Foothills, our winds are predominantly from the North -Northwest. Thus, for spring tomato production, we find an North-South orientation to be optimal.

Grizzly Hill Greenhouses offers a site consulation- because your sites' needs may be unique.

8. Can a hightunnel be movable?
Yes. One of the primary objectives of a high tunnel is to expand the harvest
period. our Cold Frames are the best solutions for building a movable system. However, movable Hightunnels are moved on to existing plots of land to accelerate growth or extend the growing season for that crop. However, relative to stationary Hightunnels, they are less airtight. Consult Eliot Coleman’s Winter Harvest Manual for additional information on design of movable high tunnels.







Grizzly Hill Greenhouses has provided Hightunnel Kits for NRCS Grants in three states and several California Counties.

This is a reminder for small farms in our region to remember that the NRCS is there to help you with many sustainable farming initiatives including helping with acquiring Hightunnels to increase your production and seasonal production.
GRIZZLY HILL HIGHTUNNEL KITS has supplied several of these units to farms and we encourage everyone to talk to the NRCS for information on this and the many other types of assistance they offer- Last year- very few farms signed-up with the NRCS for this service and this year it is never too soon to start your paperwork and initiate contact with the NRCS in Grass Valley. Namely-
* Helping with Hightunnel acquisition costs
* Help with Organic Certifications fees
* Energy conservation on your farm
DAVIS, Calif., 2013—The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting applications for special conservation initiatives funded through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to help producers conserve energy, address resource concerns on certified organic operations or those transitioning to organic production, and achieve a number of other environmental benefits.

NRCS is offering EQIP funding for three special initiatives, including:

* On-Farm Energy Initiative (helps producers conserve energy on their operations);
* Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative (helps producers install high tunnels designed to extend the growing season into the cold months, improving plant and soil quality and reducing nutrient and pesticide transport); and
* Organic Initiative (helps producers to install conservation practices on certified organic operations or those working toward organic certification).
"These special initiatives offer producers a variety of options to conserve natural resources while sustaining production on their lands," said new California State Conservationist Carlos Suarez. "We're urging producers to contact their local service center as soon as possible to be considered for this year's funding. Eligible producers with a conservation plan for their operation receive priority for financial assistance."

For additional information, eligible producers are encouraged to contact their local NRCS Service Center. Service center locations and more information on the programs can be found at www.ca.nrcs.usda.gov.


The Natural Resources Conservation Service provides leadership in a partnership effort to help people
conserve, maintain, and improve our natural resources and environment.

1. Simple Hoop House Frames or Low Tunnel Greenhouses - These frames are utilized to build 6 ft to 20 ft wide structures that are 6 ft to 8 ft tall at center. The are made from 1.315" dia. galvanized steel. These are simple Cold Frames that are basically a simple series of hoops with hardware to connect the purlins and hold down the Agribon, shade cloth or greenhouse film. They can be easily set-up, taken down & moved again to any location. They can also be used to cover.

2. The PRODUCER Hightunnel Greenhouses - These systems are similar to a hoop house but they are made from thicker 1.66 "diameter galvanized steel tube. They are 20 ft wide by up to 154 ft long. These are 12 foot tall (or taller) at center. Most popular is the 20 ft x 48 ft model. These units have 'straight sides' offering more floor space & growing area as well as a Roll-up Natural Ventilation System on the two side walls- These units are built in place and are usually not moved from location to location. Many growers use both in-ground, raised beds and/or benches in these units. These Hightunnel Kits are Complete-from the Newest woven poly Solaroof® cover option- to the one-piece frames - to the complete Hardware Package- even the drill bits and nut drivers are included. This system canbe put together by one person with minimal help- Just the basic carpentry tools and common sense- and, of course, as much technical help as you request from us...Although these are naturally heated and cooled utilizing passive roll-up sides (pictured at right), you can add whatever else you wish- including tractor door; optional heating; cooling; benches; shading; High Wind Kits and/or light deprivation systems.

3. The STARSTRUCKTURE GOTHIC ARCH Greenhouses - This system is 30 ft wide, by any length, Most popular is the 20 ft x 48 ft. These systems are made for more commercial operations and/or snowy conditions. The are made of 1 7/8" gal. steel tubing. This system is a professional unit that provides max- mum growing area for both in-ground and bench systems. These systems come complete with all parts and many options. The V-Truss System insure strength take snow & wind loads easily. The Machine Crank Roll-Up Sides ensure natural ventilation and you have the option of passive solar or hybrid electrical vents and fans. Other options include a tractor sized door, metal end walls sheeted with Twin-Wall® Polycarbonate panels. You can build this as a Ground-to-Ground or Pony Wall sidewall system. The 30 ft STARSTRUCKTURE ensure maximum space for plants and that means the the will grow large and healthy. As are all of our kits- this unit is complete. from the Ground Posts to the Cover Film, including all hardware and even the drill bits and nut drivers. All you need to put this together is someone to help you stand it up, drill motor, screw gun, ladders and a basic mechanical tool kit. Complete Instructions and Technical help is just a phone call away.








The High Tunnel System is a conservation practice available through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). This practice helps producers: Extend the growing season Improve plant quality and soil quality Reduce nutrient and pesticide transportation Improve air quality through reduced transportation inputs Reduce energy use by providing consumers with a local source of fresh produce Core Practice High Tunnel System. Supporting Practices The following list of practices is also available to producers, as applicable to their state, to support the Seasonal High Tunnel to help ensure that the resource concerns are addressed while implementing and managing the Seasonal High Tunnel: Critical Area Planting Diversion Grassed Waterway Irrigation Reservoir Irrigation System, Microirrigation Subsurface Drain Surface Drainage, Field Ditch Underground Outlet NRCS High Tunnel Success Stories #Fridaysonthefarm - High Tunnel Increases Growing Season and Crop Yield for Mississippi Farmer and Local Community Andrew Key standing in front of his high tunnel. offsite link image "I figured by me starting a vegetable business, it'll help me as far as doing something I really enjoy doing and at the same time, supplying vegetables to the community and surrounding areas." Read more NRCS high tunnel success stories.. How To Apply NRCS accepts and processes EQIP applications on a continuous basis. However, each state may establish deadlines for one or more application periods in which to consider eligible applications for funding. Applications submitted after these dates will be evaluated and considered for funding during later funding opportunities. Producers must submit a complete program application and other documentation to support eligibility to be considered for financial assistance through EQIP. Information about how to apply for assistance through EQIP and deadlines specific to the available application periods for each state, is available online. Who Can Apply Eligible applicants include individuals, legal entities, Indian Tribes, or joint operations engaged in agricultural production. In addition, organic producers who grow agricultural commodities on eligible land and have natural resource concerns which may be addressed by a seasonal high tunnel may participate in EQIP. See the EQIP website for more information about eligibility for financial assistance.