M.D. Orzolek
Use of high tunnels in the United States has a much shorter history compared to Europe and Asia. High tunnels were of little consequence in the US until the early sixties when Dr. Emery Emmert, University of Kentucky, built a wooden frame with a single layer of plastic polyethylene film instead of glass. Prior to his use of polyethylene film, he designed crude wooden structures over which he placed wooden frames covered with stretched cellophane supported by wires. In these structures, he grew commercial crops of lettuce, tomato, cucumber and bedding plants for several years. The first plastic greenhouse (crude high tunnel) was constructed at the Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station in 1953 and remained in use until 1959. Its primary appeal was its comparatively low construction cost. In 1983, Dr. Bernie Kratky, University of Hawaii, reported the construction and utilization of a simple and inexpensive greenhouse or “rainshelter” similar to the modern day high tunnel. The rainshelters were constructed of PVC pipe with a single layer of 6 mil greenhouse grade polyethylene on top and screening on the sides and ends.
Orzolek, M.D. (2013). STATUS OF HIGH TUNNELS IN THE US. Acta Hortic. 987, 29-32
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2013.987.2
plastic mulch, specialty vegetables