While driving past the farm recently,you may have noticed a few new structures coming together in the field. These new structures once finished, will be caterpillar tunnels. It has taken a few days, with all hands on deck to put them together, but these structures will become an incredible tool as we get closer and closer to the end of the season. As the days get shorter, and the temperature slowly drops, the window of time for successful crops begins to diminish.With frost approaching, which over the years has proven more and more difficult to predict, we need a structure to house our later season crops to help extend their growing period. This is where the caterpillar tunnel comes into play. In their most basic form, caterpillar tunnels are growing structures that protect crops from the elements with a simple low-cost design. The low-cost design of caterpillar tunnels focuses on providing the fastest possible payback period per initial investment of any growing structure. Since Caterpillar Tunnels are more rudimentary structures, they do not include the wind or snow bracing components found in a hoop house structure. Unlike traditional hoop houses, caterpillar tunnels are designed to be relatively portable. Two people can set up the tunnel in a few hours and take it down in approximately the same amount of time. We can also move our caterpillar tunnel around the farm throughout the growing season to cover different crops at various stages of growth. Additionally, the portability of caterpillar tunnels can also help us maintain the soil health of the growing areas. Because it doesn’t rain inside tunnels, soluble salts including nitrate, potassium, and sulfate can accumulate in the soil over time. With our caterpillar tunnels, however, we can easily avoid this problem by removing the plastic from the tunnel a few times throughout the year for a period of several weeks, to allow the minerals in the soil to balance out. Finally, these caterpillar tunnels can help extend our growing season from early spring to late fall, increasing our production, and allowing us to offer more variety of crops. Although it is later in the season, and we will not get to fully experience the impact of these new caterpillar tunnels, we are so excited to witness the many benefits they will bring in the future. As we continue to expand the farm, further experiment,and understand our soil better things can only improve from here!