NCGT-sponsored High Tunnel intensive at the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association conference.

October/November 2016 — North Carolina has ample sunshine and rain, great soils, and – with season extension techniques – the possibility of year-round production to fill local market opportunities. NCGT is capitalizing on this opportunity by offering a series of five season extension workshops over winter 2016 and spring 2017.

Workshops will focus on high and low tunnels: low-tech, low-cost tools that allow growers to extend the growing season of vegetables and small fruit crops. Topics will include microclimate characteristics, ideal planting dates for cool and warm season vegetable crops, labor and material costs, and best management practices for pests and fertility. All workshops will include the opportunity to see high/low tunnels in use.

Workshops are geared toward producers selling into wholesale markets, as well as Extension Agents who are assisting growers with wholesale market expansion. Speakers including Dr. Sanjun Gu, horticulture extension specialist with the Cooperative Extension Program at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, county Cooperative Extension agents, and other experts who will offer a variety of tools to assist growers in maximizing the efficient use of high tunnels.

NCGT also sponsored a full-day intensive at last week’s Carolina Farm Stewardship Association Sustainable Agriculture Conference. The intensive was attended by nearly 40 people and featured CFSA’s keynote speaker, farmer Clara Coleman of Four Season Farm in Maine. Coleman gave practical, hands-on advice on building inexpensive DIY tunnels for year-round production.

Participants also heard from Foster-Caviness and FreshPoint wholesale buyers about market opportunities for farmers who use season extension, and toured two area farms – Dancing Pines Farm and Ten Mothers Farm – that use season extension for their late-fall production.

Winter 2016/Spring 2017 Season Extension Workshops:

  • November 21 in Jefferson, NC | Info | Register
  • December 12 in Jackson Springs, NC | Info | Register
  • February 8 in Jacksonville, NC | Info/registration coming soon!
  • March 27 in Concord, NC | Info/registration coming soon!
  • March 30 in Greensboro, NC | Info/registration coming soon!

For a full list of upcoming events, please visit the NCGT website.

This article originally appeared in the October/November 2016 NC Growing Together Newsletter.