29 articles tagged "Protected Culture and Season Extension".

The cost of high tunnel and greenhouse infrastructure is high. The purchase price of high tunnels can vary between $2.00 and $7.00 per square foot, while climate controlled greenhouse costs can vary between $7.00 and $30.00 per square foot. Several factors have an impact on the costs of setting up new high tunnel or greenhouse infrastructure. Location – It is essential that the terrain selected for the construction of high tunnel and greenhouse infrastructure be well drained and level. High tunnels and greenhouses displace rainfall and provision has to be made for drainage infrastructure to redirect the water. Additionally, provision has to be made for new irrigation lines and if necessary, electricity and gas. As a general rule the distance of high tunnels and greenhouses from obstacles like trees or a building should be twice the height of that obstacle. This also applies to the distance between high tunnels or[Read More…]


Figure 1. Note stigma of tomato flower on the left was more exerted compared to flower on the right. In addition to temperatures, genetic factor, nutritional status and light might cause stigma exertion.

Maintaining temperature in the ideal range is very important for tomato fruit set. The optimum temperatures are 60-75°F (night) and 60-90°F (day). Studies showed that exposing plants to 3-h periods of temperatures above 104°F on two successive days may caused fruit set failure. Not only is the maximal temperature critical for fruit set, maintaining night temperature in the ideal range is also essential. Effects of high temperature on fruit set are primarily on the stage of pollen development, which occurs about nine days before flowers open. High temperatures also affects flower structure by causing stigma exertion that prevents pollen from successfully landing on the stigma (Figure 1). After pollination, pollen germination can be severely reduced at temperatures above 100°F. Preventing temperatures from reaching the extremely high level is important in high tunnel tomato production. Since biomass production and flower numbers are less likely to be affected by high temperatures compared to[Read More…]


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We went through an unseasonably cold period in early April (Figure 1). In southern Indiana, a few high tunnel tomato growers have already planted their crops. These plants may need some extra help. In Vincennes, IN, we used row covers to cover the newly planted tomatoes in high tunnels the past few nights, our recorded lowest temperature was 37 °F under row covers. Plants all look good. However, the temperature is apparently too cold for cucumbers. The majority of the early planted cucumbers in our high tunnels were dead. We are waiting for the weather to warm up (soil temperature at least above 60 °F) to reset the cucumbers. Please let us know if you also ran into problems in the past a few days because of the low temperature. It might be issues in the greenhouse, the high tunnels, or even the field. We would appreciate you sharing your experiences with us.      


Census data showed that in 2014 Indiana (12 acres), Illinois (11 acres) and Kentucky (13 acres) dedicated a very small portion of their food crop acreage to production under protection. According to the USDA National Agriculture Statistical Service 2014 Horticulture Specialties Census, of all the states surrounding Indiana, Ohio and Michigan have grown and sold the most food crops under protection, 24 and 25 acres, respectively. The use of high tunnels for vegetable production seems to be a novelty in the Midwest. But it can be a very important tool for every vegetable grower as it can be used to modify the growing environment for crop earliness, to protect the growing crop against environmental stress, to reduce disease and insect pressure and to extend the growing season. Covering the soil with a high tunnel prevents natural rainfall from washing or leaching nutrients and soluble salts from the soil, can lead[Read More…]


A grafted tomato plant growing in a high tunnel. (Photo by Wenjing Guan)

​You might have heard about tomato grafting, or you might even already have tried the new technique. Yes, it has multiple benefits: control of soilborne diseases, enhanced tolerance to abiotic stresses, and increased productivity. It works for some growers, but not all. Why? There are several reasons. First, effects of grafting on controlling soilborne diseases depend on the presence of the disease that the rootstock is designed to control. For example, grafting might not be very helpful for white mold, because current commercial rootstocks do not have resistance to white mold. However, grafting might work if the primary problem is Fusarium crown and root rot, as most commercial tomato rootstocks have resistance to this disease. With that said, it is very important to look at the disease resistance profile before deciding on the rootstocks. Second, grafting effects on improving yield depend on factors such as scion and rootstock cultivars, cultural[Read More…]


(Photo by Shubin K. Saha)

​Tomato growers who utilize high tunnels to reach early markets often find that there are few economic alternatives to tomato. Therefore, many growers grow tomatoes after tomatoes instead of rotating to a different crop. The repeated cropping of tomato in the same area can lead to disease problems such as Fusarium crown rot and white mold (timber rot). Soil solarization takes advantage of solar radiation to heat the soil to temperatures that are lethal to many fungal pathogens, nematodes, and weed seeds. In Indiana, soil solarization is not always practical for field use since the period where soil solarization would be useful, summer, is also the period where most growers must produce crops. The use of soil solarization in high tunnels, however, may be more practical since these crops are produced earlier than field crops. Additionally there is chance for greater heating of the soil if the high tunnel vents[Read More…]


(Photo by Dan Egel)

​We have received a number of reports of outbreaks of spider mites, primarily in watermelons and in high tunnels. The problems in high tunnels are not unexpected because one of the primary causes of mortality in mite populations is rainfall washing them off the plants and, of course, that is lacking completely in high tunnels. With all the rain we have had, it’s a little surprising that we are seeing problems in watermelons, but the older I get, the less I’m surprised by how infrequently arthropods behave the way we expect them to. In both scenarios, we don’t really have treatment thresholds for mites. Generally speaking, if populations are increasing, they need to be controlled. Once the decision to treat has been made, that’s where things get very different. In watermelons, we have a variety of pesticide choices. See page 115 of the Midwest Vegetable Production Guide (ID56) for the[Read More…]


Powdery mildew of tomato is easily recognized from the sporulation of the white fungus on the leaves.

​This disease has been reported near West Lafayette and in Wanatah Indiana. Powdery mildew of tomato can be recognized by the white fungal colonies on both leaf surfaces (Figure 1). Occasionally, stems may also be infected. Severely affected tomato plants may have leaves that turn chlorotic and necrotic. Fruit will not be directly affected. The causal organism has been tentatively identified as Pseudoidium neolycopersici, formerly Oidium neolycopersici. This fungus may survive as resting structures on host material. The spores are easily wind dispersed to additional tomato plants. Development of this disease is favored by temperatures below 86°F. As with most powdery mildew diseases, high humidity allows the disease to develop; leaf wetness is not necessary. Since high humidity favors powdery mildew of tomato, greenhouse environments often favor the disease. Reports of powdery mildew on tomato are not common in Indiana. There is no data on yield loss from this disease on tomato. Nevertheless, if this disease is present, management options should be considered. Several systemic[Read More…]


QR code linking to registration for August 13 event.

​Pinney Purdue Vegetable Field Day and Sweet Corn Sampler. Thursday, August 13, 2015. 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. CDT. Pinney Purdue Ag Center, 11402 S. County Line Rd., Wanatah, IN. Plot tours include soil health management and disease suppressive soils, tomatoes and peppers in high tunnels, and sweet corn varieties. Private Applicator Recertification (PARP) Credit available. To register, visit http://tinyurl.com/no6tosr or contact Lori Jolly-Brown, ljollybr@purdue.edu, or 765-494-1296. Beginning Farmer Tours. Free farm tours and networking events sponsored by Purdue Extension and Local Growers Guild. For more information and to register contact the Purdue Extension Education Store at www.edustore.purdue.edu or 888-EXT-INFO. August 18: Redbud Farm, home of Caprini Creamery, Spiceland, IN. Breakfast, networking, lunch and tour. September 8: Growing Places Indy, Indianapolis, IN. Lunch, networking session, tour. Urban produce farm with raised beds, u-pick, and greenhouses. September 14: Morning Harvest, Palmyra and Hardinsburg, IN. Breakfast, networking session, lunch and tour. Developing[Read More…]


​Yellowstriped armyworms continue to cause problems for tomato growers, especially in high tunnels. The populations are often spotty within a field or high tunnel, but can easily reach damaging levels. Most of the insecticides listed in the Midwest Vegetable Production Guide for control of caterpillars on fruiting vegetables (pages 135-6) will control yellowstriped armyworms. If spraying within a high tunnel, be sure that the label allows use in a greenhouse or high tunnel. Consult Table 16 on page 40 for available options.


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