Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 23, 2014


Straughn High School agriscience students will soon get a more hands-on lesson in growing vegetables, thanks to a new high tunnel hoop house being built behind the school.

The Covington County Natural Resources and Conservation Services and soil and water conservation district helped coordinate a partnership with SHS’s program and the Wiregrass RC&D program.

James Currington, executive director of the Wiregrass RC&D program, along with Victor Khan, Tuskegee University plan breeder/horticulturist, constructed a high tunnel house that extends the growing season of plans.

Straughn became only the fourth school to get the wooden model in the 10-county Wiregrass area.

A high tunnel hoop house is a freestanding or gutter-connected covered structure, without heating or electrical power, using passive ventilation for air exchange and cooling, and an irrigation system for crop production.

There are metal ones throughout the RC&D council areas, but Khan and Currington have worked to develop the wooden, more economic model. The size is 20 feet by 42 feet.

“This serves as an outdoor living laboratory to reinforce the practical aspects of biological germination,” Khan said. “This gives agricultural science, with biological sciences and experience with building sciences and vocational.”

The Wiregrass RC&D is funding the project in which Currington and Khan are working to streamline.

Patricia Gable of the local soil and water, said the partnership is taking and applying what teachers already know works, which is taking book knowledge and putting it in real life situations.

“This can help kids discover careers,” she said. “Our world is changing.”

SHS agriscience teacher Rodney Wyrosdick said he also plans to add a regular greenhouse to show the difference.

“We hop this adds another facet to our ag program,” he said. “We are going to put some more ag into it and grow things.”

Wyrosdick said they will begin by growing fall and winter crops such as turnips, collards and things such as that.

Among the other crops that can be grown are tomatoes, peppers, berries or salad green.

He said that most of his classes will be involved in the process, and he hopes to sell the produce as a fundraiser to help the FFA do more things.

Three crops can be grown, specifically two warm seasons and one cool crop season.