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In the Spring of 2011 a High Tunnel Education workshop was conducted in La Barge, the structure was a 12-ft x 32-ft straight hoop style. This project was built at the La Barge School and funded by a Learn & Serve Grant from Serve Wyoming.
The project status update is provided by D Simmons, Principle at the La Barge School.
What have you learned from growing things in the High Tunnel?
We have learned that we need to do a better job of preparing our soil. The plants did ok last year, but they could have been much better. The children planted some things last fall but it didn’t go too well. We need to organize better and assign the students to specific tasks.
What changes have you made (or groups you represent) in your lifestyle(s) because of the HT – to rephrase that what 'impact' has the HT had on you or the groups you work with?
Our teachers and staff have discovered that this [high tunnel] will really work and grow produce and flowers. They were skeptical at first.
What are some of the benefits you have identified of working in a HT?
The big benefit is for the children to get excited about growing things. They like to watch their own plants grow and produce fruit. The teachers learned that marigolds resist certain bugs.
What issues/challenges have you discovered with the HT?
We had a problem with ground squirrels or gophers. They would burrow into the greenhouse and chew our plant stems. We had to do some eradication.
Would you recommend a High Tunnel (HT) to others?
Absolutely we would recommend it. However, it takes a lot of work and we need someone to manage it better than we did last year.
How has the design held up in Wyoming conditions (have you identified any issues)?
The greenhouse has held up very well. At this point all is well with the construction and building.
What was the Germination Date inside vs. outside?
We don't have data on the germination date. We transplanted from our greenhouse in Big Piney to this greenhouse [high tunnel] in late May.
What was the last Frost date Outside vs. inside?
The last frost was in late May. It may have frosted in June.
Are you producing even during the cold winter months?
No we are not doing anything during the cold months.
Do you provide tours to others who may be interested in the structures?
We are happy to show our [high tunnel] to anyone. We have only had one group come and see it.
Can you tell me if the workshop has had an impact on the surrounding community – have others started building them? If so how many HT’s are in your community?
No effect on the community at this point that we have noticed.