Tuesday, March 26, 2013

55 and counting...

We're talking hoophouses, not years, here...

According to the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) office in Kenai, as of March 2013, Kodiak Island has 55 hoophouses (counting the 8 contracts approved this year, FY 2013). These hoophouses, also called high tunnels, are affectionately known as "hope houses" because they provide gardeners and growers an "edge" against the fickle coastal weather that can make or break a growing season.

As one gardener said, "When it's pouring rain and blowing outside, I love to go into my hoophouse to see all my vegetables standing tall, pretty and protected."

Where do these hoophouses come from? In a nutshell, they're part of a USDA program called t
he Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative. This is a "voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers. The goal of the initiative is to assist producers to extend the growing season for high value crops in an environmentally safe manner."

For basic information about the program, visit the 2013 EQIP Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative page or contact Craig Sanders in Homer at 907-235-8177, ext 107.

To apply for a hoophouse: Applications are available at the local NRCS/KSWCD office in Kodiak. While this office is not staffed by NRCS, the Kodiak Soil and Water Conservation District (KSWCD) uses their office and can provide you with hoophouse applications. TIP: But you should call Craig in Homer for most NRCS details. Craig can request the KSWCD to do local on-the-ground inspections for him if needed. The KSWCD number is 907-486-5574.

Meanwhile, kudos for Kodiak!

Gardening, Kodiak, Kodiak Island, hoophouse, high tunnel, vegetables, garden, beds, agriculture
Marie Rice stands near a raised bed of broccoli in her hoophouse in Bells Flats.

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