Are You Interested in Growing Greenhouse Type Cucumbers in High Tunnels, and Targeting for Early Season Production?

Consumers love cucumbers that are sweet, seedless and have thin skins. They are willing to pay high prices for the long or mini cucumbers sold at grocery stores. These cucumbers are often grown in greenhouses and shipped long distances. It will attract consumers’ attention if greenhouse type cucumbers can be produced locally in high tunnels, and be available in the early-season’s market.

There are at least three benefits for targeting early-season cucumber production. First, prices are higher; second, there are less pest problems; and third, things are going slower in early seasons compared to in the summer. However, we all know that cucumbers love high temperatures and do not grow well when soil temperature is low, even in high tunnels. This is especially true for the greenhouse type cucumbers. The situation may be changed with the use of grafting technology. Using squash as rootstocks, we were able to harvest cucumbers as early as in the middle of April in a high tunnel that was not heated in our pilot study at Southwest Purdue Ag Center this spring. This project was funded by North-Central Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NC-SARE). The funding will allow us to continue the work and expand its scope to more on-farm trials.

We are going to supply grafted and normal cucumber plants for free, and try our best to meet your needs in terms of variety and the planting dates. What we want for you is to grow the same number and variety of grafted and normal cucumber plants, and keep track of the yields. We will provide a stipend for your efforts in tracking the data. The funding allows us to work with five high tunnel growers across Indiana. If you are interested in the project, please contact Wenjing Guan at guan40@purdue.edu or (812) 886-0198. We are excited to work with you and promote sustainability of vegetable production in Indiana.

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