Moveable High Tunnel?

uglyapple(7)October 30, 2013

I'm interested if anyone here has experience with moveable high tunnels. I'm about a year away from constructing the tunnel and I'm torn between the potential benefits of something that is moveable and the increased costs and complexity.

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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

We have two smaller movable tunnels. Both have three growing spots that they can cover. I think they are a great improvement to high tunnels, especially, if you grow year around.

This is a very old picture of them.

In the spring, I can start cold hardy crops sooner, then when it would be time to plant them normally, I move the tunnel and transplant in warm season stuff, several weeks ahead of schedule. Then I can move the building off the warm season stuff and use it to protect more warm season stuff into the fall and be planting a winter crop outside and when the warm season stuff is done, I can move the building back over the winter stuff.

Example: I use the building to cover all these crops in one season. Kale and Swiss Chard , move, Zucchini, move, Late summer tomatoes, move Winter Carrots.

The other one has onions, move, cucumbers, move, Late fall Green Beans, Move, Winter carrots

Very good investment, if you have the ground and $$ to build it.

Jay

Here is a link that might be useful: Post about movable tunnels

    Bookmark   October 30, 2013 at 2:56PM
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boulderbelt(5/6)

A link to several blog posts about how to build one of our scissor houses that are easily movable

Here is a link that might be useful: Hoop House How to

    Bookmark   October 30, 2013 at 4:49PM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

After reading Eliot Coleman's books and seeing the high tunnels on castors that are moveable with a tractor I fell in love. They do cost a lot more but the ease of moving through the season is so awesome! Otherwise you either have to pick and choose crops to cover or try to grow them (cool and warm crops) together next to each other. Johnny's has a video about building a moveable one and has the castors for sale but it isn't as wide as the one in Grower's Supply.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2013 at 6:16PM
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joeyvegies

I have worked on a farm with two moveable tunnels, one based on Coleman's design, but it was very difficult to move (so perhaps the design was not well implemented) and the other one we just jacked up and put wheelbarrow wheels on and then pushed it. That was quick and easy.

I saw the advantage for the soil as being huge - no build up of greenhouse pests, and can do soil rotation each year of your protected crops. I guess the other aspects, of covering more than one crop each season would depend on your climate and how easy it is to move your tunnels. I couldn't see myself doing it more than once a season, but then I don't have any other workers on my farm to help.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 4:57AM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

We move each of our movable high tunnels 4 to 5 times each year. I do this by myself without a tractor. As I said earlier mine are only 16 by 32, so they aren't too big. I tried to use my tractor but it was more difficult. It usually takes me 10 minutes to undo all the bolts (use a cordless drill much faster than a wrench) and about 15 minutes to move one space, then about 10 minutes to put the bolts back in.

It isn't hard work, but in my situation time is more abundant than money, so I opted to not go for caster wheels. Way to expensive for me.

Jay

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 12:13PM
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sandy0225(z5 Indiana)

one of my plant customers, another vender at market just got one through ncrs. they got it from growers supply or farmtek whatever you want to call it, but they couldn't hardly figure out how to put it up. it's pretty involved because it moves on pipes. I think myself in a couple of years when everything gets rusty its going to be a pita to move it. I like the idea of something lighter myself.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2013 at 8:37AM
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kennys_garden

for me i can grow crops in the hoop house all season and i have a shortage of hoophouse space, so when i consider adding a new hoophouse, i can easily get 2 times the square footage or more with simple stationary units than if i spent the money on the mobile one. i can get away with very light duty hoophouses as i have almost no snow and light winds. the extra bracing to make the movable house is cost prohibitive for me. if i already needed a more robust structure due to snow and/or wind, it might be cost effective to add the mobility

    Bookmark   December 6, 2013 at 8:48PM
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randy41_1

i would like a moveable tunnel but there's not enough level or almost level land here. i can get 2 crops per year out of a stationary house.i think a moveable house could increase that to 3 per year.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2013 at 6:05AM
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myfamilysfarm

Posters, we need to put where we are at, so that we can decide whether your experience can work for us. Many of you, we know like family, others we would like to.

I have a stationery, but moveable houses have been around for years. I can remember an article in Countryside magazine in the early 2000s about a commune in MN (I think) with a home-made one. Not until years later, did I start hearing about others have them.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2013 at 9:29AM
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