There are so many benefits to using high tunnels, hoop houses, or caterpillar tunnels for growing flowers. Tunnels are a great way to add extra protection and season extension to overwintering crops – they protect from wind, rain, and snow and add extra warmth. Lately, I have been receiving lots of questions about how to best manage tunnels during the winter. For those of us in climates with huge temperature fluctuations (or maybe that applies to everyone everywhere), it is super important to pay attention to the temperature inside your tunnels. During the winter, we primarily grow ranunculus, anemone, and Hummingbird poppies inside our unheated high tunnel. I am constantly watching the weather – the highs, the lows, the amount of sunshine, and the wind speed – to decide when and how much to open the sides of our tunnel. Tunnel management is what farmers stress over in the winter!

I was recently asked a few questions by one of last year’s Flower Farming 101 workshop attendees about how she should be managing her caterpillar tunnels which are planted full of ranunculus. I hope that sharing our exchange below it may help more folks with similar questions.

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