Extend Your Season!

Season Extension in the Midwest was created as a place for farmers to go and learn about the many new and exciting growing opportunities in season extension.

You will find everything from articles by the leading names in organics and high tunnel growers to the latest events, conferences and workshops along with pictures and stories about farmers who are currently using season extension in their growing operation.

If you have any resources, ideas, links or pictures to add and share, please do not hesitate to contact us at angie@mosesorganic.org

This website was made possible through funding from Sow the Seeds / Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, in cooperation with Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) and Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (MISA).

News and Upcoming Events

September 2013 - Case Study - High Tunnel Operation in Harsh Climates: Lessons Learned
A case study from the University of Minnesota Exention that follows farmer Mike Klawitter as he examines the potential benefits of the season extension technology. Click here for more information.

September 2013 - U of MN - farmer interest survey
The University of Minnesota is developing a comprehensive e-learning tool that will teach sustainable methods and technologies for marketing and growing strawberries, including methods to extend the season.This survey is designed to help us determine the areas of greatest interest to farmers.  It takes approximately 5 minutes to complete. Responses are anonymous and will only be shared in compiled, aggregate form. Click here to learn more and complete the survey.

July 2013 - U of MN Cold Climate Greenhouse Study
This survey is being used to collect data from cold climate greenhouse users, designers, and enthusiasts to get a better sense of what is being done both locally and around the world to extend our growing season and provide fresh local food for ourselves. The results will be compiled and used in a document that aims to a) Provide examples of various greenhouse designs in cold climates, b) Clarify and quantify the challenges and trade-offs with respect to materials, carbon emissions, food production, energy use, and economics, and c) Provide some design assistance to individuals or entities that want to erect a cold-climate greenhouse. This project is a joint effort of Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center near Lanesboro, MN, the U of M Extension Southeast Regional Sustainable Development Partnership, the University of Minnesota Center for Urban and Regional Affairs Community Assistantship Program and is being carried out by the Design for Community Resilience program at the University of Minnesota Center for Sustainable Building Research. Click here to learn more and complete the survye

April 2013 - New Program - The Minnesota High Tunnel Network & Diease Survey
A recent grant awarded to University of Minnesota by the USDA through the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, now allows the state’s high tunnel growers to receive accurate diagnosis of diseases of tomato, pepper, eggplant and related plants at a highly discounted price. Growers can submit their samples during the 2013 and 2014 growing seasons to the University of Minnesota’s Plant Disease Clinic at a price of only $20/sample (normally $100). Click here to learn more.

April 2013 - New Collection of How-To Resources from SARE
Season Extension Topic Rooms are a one-stop collection of dozens of guidebooks, curricula, webinars, bulletins and other how-to materials to help farmers, educators and researchers across the country implement effective season extension strategies. Check them out here.

February 2013 - Minnesota High Tunnel Conference - held in Brainerd, Minnesota. Click here for more details.

October 2012 - Iowa State University research - high tunnel study on season extension in lettuce by Assistant Professor Ajay Nair in the Department of Horticulture. Watch these videos to learn more about his research! Videos: Lettuce high tunnel study & Lettuce season extension with row covers

October 2012 - Hennepin High Tunnel Workshop
Click here for more details.

July 2012 - New Video on Season Extension from the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension
Becky Sideman from UNH Cooperative Extension shows how to extend a growing season in New Hampshire. Click here to watch the video.

April 2012 - New Resources for Rainwater Catchment Systems for High Tunnel Irrigation
A potential problem for Iowa fruit and vegetable growers can be turned into a liquid asset, thanks to a one-year research project conducted by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and funded by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture. Click here to see full news release.

March 2012 - News Release - Thinking about High Tunnels?
Growers May Be Eligible for Planning and Financial Assistance through NRCS. Click here to download the news release.

Revised High Tunnel Production Manual for Commercial Growers
The 2010 Revised Edition of the manual is now available on the UM High Tunnels website. Hard copies are not available at this time. Information about availability of hard copies will be updated on the site. Also, UM High Tunnels is on Facebook. Follow us for up to date information, events and discussions about high tunnels.

Short video on USDA High Tunnels with Dep. Sec. Merrigan and White House Chef Sam Kass

Additional online resources available to compliment past high tunnel pest management webinar series and cover crops webinar series from the Great Lakes Vegetable Work Group website. Plus check out this article from the U of M extension site,"Cover Cropping to Suppress Weeds in Northeast US Farming Systems."

November 2010 - Hoophouses Increase Farm Income
USDA Farm Blog - "...Hoophouses just might be the answer to extending the growing season and increasing growers’ incomes. With funding from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), professors at Michigan State University (MSU) are studying hoophouses and teaching farmers to use them to extend the farming season...more



Learn more about hoophouse construction on The Hoophouse Blog by Adam Montri.

Read further description of the types of eligible hoophouses in this
NRCS Fact Sheet (PDF, 108 kb).