Agronomy and Horticulture Department


Date of this Version



Adams, S.A. & Todd, K. A. (2014). Coldframes, High Tunnels, and Greenhouses: Choose a Growing Structure Best for You. Nebraska Extension. G2246


© 2014, The Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska on behalf of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension


Cold frames, high tunnels, and greenhouses are plant growth structures that can be used to extend the growing season or allow for use year around for growing high value specialty crops. This publication discusses the various attributes and applications of each so that plant producers in teaching, research, extension, commercially or as a hobby can determine the best structure to meet individual needs.

Cold frames, high tunnels, and greenhouses are structures that provide hobbyists and growers with options for plant protection and season extension. They vary in cost, size, structural complexity, and ability for year-round usage. The small cold frame is the most affordable option for beginning growers. With experience, growers may choose a high tunnel or greenhouse for optimal production and economic gain.