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					Marketing High Tunnel Crops
Outside the Normal Season
           Ted Carey
     Kansas State University
    High Tunnels for the Central Great Plains:
        Profitable, season-extending horticultural
           production systems (2001-2005)
                          Multiple cooperators
                        Kansas State University
                        University of Missouri, Columbia
                        University of Nebraska, Lincoln
                        Kansas Rural Center
Olathe, KS

Columbia, MO         Lincoln, NE             Wichita, KS
Additional project
  • On-farm research
  • Extension
  • Web-site
An unabashed promotion of high tunnels

With some words of caution
  – Profitable production
  – Practice makes perfect (with luck)
            Tunnels – a tool
• A part of the farm’s production cycle,
  complemented by open field
• Crop protection
  – Row cover
  – Low tunnels
  – High tunnels (all sorts)
  – High tunnels +
                                                  California desert
What is a high tunnel?

Harnois 30’ x 96’ double layer poly
Eliot Coleman’s farm, Maine
                                      Leavenworth, KS
High Tunnel (hoophouse) – A poly-covered greenhouse
 with relatively low input for environmental control.
                   (relatively low cost)

                          30’ x 96’ Gothic
                          Zimmerman’s, Versailles, MO

                            30’ X 96’ Quonset with stove
                            Versailles, MO
Haygrove high tunnel – 3
       Homemade tunnels are less expensive
           and may have their place

Portable field tunnel        PVC hoophouse
St Isidore Farm, MO             K-State
 Early spring heat retention for tomato

black plastic mulch,      Double-layer poly
row covers, water bags
• Multiple options – produce auctions;
  restaurants; farmers markets; farm stand;
  grocery store; etc.
• Selling your story; fresh, local; family farm;
  health, environment.
  More than Season Extension
• Earlier tomatoes, later tomatoes
• Year-round spinach (summer - shade
• Reduced disease pressure (e.g.,
• Earlier production on berry crops, and
  better quality
• Production vs no production (e.g., bitter
  melon, figs, Lisianthus).
  Not So Obvious Benefits of High
• Capturing early markets and holding them
  into to the main field production season
  (e.g., Ralph Cramer - cut flowers)
• Using high specialty items to sell other
  things like fall storage vegetables.
  Olathe - December, 2003
Soil almost never freezes under row
          cover in tunnels
Summer spinach production
• 39% shade
• Sprinkler irrigation
Less disease in tunnels than in the field Olathe, 2005
Late season tomatoes at Steve Groff’s farm
Little or no field production of some crops
   but they produce well in high tunnels


                               Bitter Melon
                Successful Growers
               Paul and Sandy Arnold,
                     Argyle, NY
 •   Sell at farmers market
 •   Field houses (14’ x 100’)
 •   Over winter and spring
 •   Lettuce
      - $3100/house @ 1.75/ head
 •   Spinach (leaf)
      - $3500/house @ 6.75/lb (1/3 lb bags)
       Developing efficient production systems

Pete’s Greens,
Craftsbury, VT
           Haygrove stories
• K-State (0.5 acre) – cane fruit, blueberries,
  melon, tomato, asparagus, rhubarb
• Ed Weaver, Morgantown PA. (0.5 to 4
  acres) – cherries, strawberries,
  raspberries, blueberries, tomatoes
• John Cooper, Simcoe Ontario. Haygrove
  rep. (1 to >10 acres) – raspberries,
  tomatoes, strawberries
Steve Groff, Cedar Meadow Farm Alex + Betsy Hitt, Peregrine Farm
Holtwood, PA. Learning curve!  Graham, NC. Management!
       Blueberry - planted 2005

                       In – 805g/5- plant plot
                       Out – 28g/5- plant plot

Patriot – 1322 g; Sierra – 1091 g; Blue Crop – 695 g;
            Duke – 530 g; Jersey – 383 g
          Rhubarb – Canada Red
In – 15.7 lb/5-plant plot
Out – 4.7lb/5-plant plot

                            Mulch effects p = 0.11
                            EM inoculant p = 0.94
 Baby Summer Squash - Count

Out – 37 per plot   In – 67 per plot
Baby Summer Squash - Count

        110a                 73b

       65bc           65bc
More news
Resources: Structure suppliers
Resources : Publications
    Come and visit any time

Ted Carey, 35125 W 135th St., Olathe, KS 66061
        913-645-0007; tcarey@ksu.edu

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