A recent article talks about the benefits of locally-grown food in Iowa, although the benefits are practically the same anywhere else. The article talks mainly about the price: Some won’t buy food from a farmer’s market, both produce and meat, because they assume the price is too high. In fact, as the article found out, produce and meat from a farmer’s market cost less than that from a conventional supermarket. Farmers, additionally, look to find ways to extend the growing season on certain crops, and this is where portable greenhouses come in for producing your food on a local level.
Portable greenhouses range in size from sheds to put in your backyard to high-tunnel options, which are generally used on farms. High Tunnel greenhouses are made from a rounded galvanized steel frame and a translucent polyethylene canopy on top. Having this additional protection for certain seasonal crops allows them to be grown for a few months longer. In the case of the linked article, the goal is to extend certain crop growing periods by four to five months by using such structures.
Portable greenhouses and other similar shelters aren’t unusual on farms. In fact, they can be found sheltering livestock and equipment for part of the year. Aside from use on a farm, one of these portable greenhouses can be used on an individual level to grow your own vegetables. In some cases, if you use potted plants, you can continue to grow some vegetables and fruits in the winter months but, much like the use for the high tunnel greenhouses, smaller models can extend the use of your garden into colder weather. Continue growing your own fruits and vegetables for a few months longer and, in the winter, heat one of the greenhouses to continue growing potted plants.