Dogpatch Urban Gardens (DUG) in Iowa is doing some really important, and really cool work. Although Iowa is a big agriculture state, DUG is making big strides in bringing high quality specialty crops to a city environment. Located in Des Moines, Iowa DUG has literally stuck a flag into the ground on a plot of land that is highly efficient while visually prevalent; located on a high traffic corner with a newly constructed pole barn style farm stand, DUG can't be missed...and that is exactly what founder and owner Jenny Quiner is intending. In addition to including food grown on-site, the farm stand is acting as a retail outlet for other small and mid-sized farms in the region that may not have access to such a high profile market / retail sales outlet.
As a part of their efforts to grow food for the Des Moines community, DUG made the decision that season extension needed to be a part of their production plans; both the security of a more controlled growing environment and the visual statement of a High Tunnel were important as the plans for a High Tunnel Hoop House developed. After a few conversations, and some discussion of add-on options for end-walls and entrances a plan of attack was formulated, a build date was settled on, and Tunnel Vision Hoops LLC had a few calendar dates set aside for a trip to Des Moines, Iowa.
The build was a Managed Installation, which means Tunnel Vision Hoops LLC sends a project leader / specialist, and the customer supplies a group of volunteers that are interested in building a High Tunnel of their own. We worked closely with volunteers provided by DUG and Practical Farmers of Iowa. the volunteers proved to be a great group, and from start to finish the build ended up being one of the smoothest Managed Installations we have ever had the pleasure of coordinating.
Since the DUG Farm Stand and High Tunnel are completely visible from the street the group decided to upgrade the end-wall from a ply-able greenhouse plastic to an 8 mm twin wall polycarbonate material. While this increases the insulation provided by their end-wall material it also just looks beautiful, which DUG is hoping draws more attention to their location and increases their customer base. Some of the other components included with their tunnel are listed below:
- 4 Year 6 Mil Anti-Drip Greenhouse Plastic for the first layer, and 4 Year 6 Mil UVA Clear Plastic for the Exterior layer of Double Layer Inflated Greenhouse Plastic. Using a double layer inflated greenhouse plastic system helps create a better insulated structure. In order to keep an insulating layer of air between the two layers of plastic we installed an Inflation Blower Fan, as well as a Jumper Hose that can help move air from one side of the structure to the other side of the structure.
- Superior ventilation for sides and ends. The sides come standard with Roll-up Sides with 7:1 Gear Box Operators, which included 30" Crank Handles for each side. For the end-walls, The Culinary Gardener went withthermostatically controlled options including an intake shutter and an ES Shutter Fan from J&D Manufacturing. These fans move roughly 7,000 Cubic Feet per Minute. Between the roll-up sides, and the end-wall ventilation, a more manageable climate can be maintained.
- Larger doors for both end-walls; each end has an 8 ft. wide x 7 ft. tall double sliding door. The doors slide on the interior of the structure to prevent wear and tear from inclement weather conditions