Armstrong Research and Demonstration Farm

Extension Number

RFR A1089

Publication Date



High tunnels have been successfully used in Iowa to modify the climate and extend the growing season for tomatoes and other crops. Without the use of supplemental heat these ventilated, single layered plastic structures have typically increased average inside air temperatures by 10°F or more over outside temperatures for the growing season. The same tunnel, however, will only increase the daily low temperature by about 1 or 2°F, thus making early season high tunnel plantings without additional heat or plant coverings risky in Iowa. Fabric row covers are commonly used in high tunnels to provide for an additional 2-4°F frost protection during cold evenings. The recommended planting date for high tunnel tomatoes in Iowa has been about April 16 (4 to 5 weeks ahead of the recommended outside planting date). Producers are also advised to have some sort of plant covering material available to protect plants during a late spring frost.

Copyright Owner

Iowa State University



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