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High tunnel research reports

Judson Reid, Cornell Vegetable Program specialist, has released several reports from his 2009 and 2010 research projects:

Grow ginger in high tunnels

An article in the NE-SARE newsletter, Ginger: An ancient crop in the new world, describes a Farmer Grant project comparing growing ginger in a greenhouse or a high tunnel.

“‘Using high tunnels was a drastic profit improvement over growing in the greenhouse,’ Bahret [the grant recipient] says. In fact, the greenhouse ginger lost money while the hoop house ginger earned almost $3,000 in income over expenses, mostly because of differences in heat and labor.”

View images of ginger production and read more at Bahret’s farm at the Old Friends Farm website.

Read more about the project through the SARE project database: Year 1 | Year 2

Heirloom vegetables to be auctioned by Sotheby’s

Several people have forwarded this article from the Wall Street Journal, Sotheby’s Puts Veggies on the Block.

“You all know of new produce auctions springing up, and you have probably heard of Sotheby’s auction house in New York City. You may not have heard of the meeting of the two, when Sotheby’s auctions vegetables next month,” says Chris Wien, who recognizes this as a sign that there are new and perhaps unimagined markets for unique, high-quality vegetables grown in high tunnels.

Sotheby’s Auction House, that purveyor of all things rare and fine, will soon dabble in something a little more pedestrian: vegetables.

But these aren’t your average garden greens. On the auction block are mixed crates filled with veggies such as Turkish Orange Eggplant, Lady Godiva Squash and Pink Banana Pumpkin. Rare, indeed. The asking price: $1,000 a crate.

The auction is part of a Sotheby’s benefit featuring heirloom vegetables—vintage varieties that aren’t commonly grown by the mass-produced agriculture of today. The Sept. 23 benefit, titled “The Art of Farming,” is the first of its kind by Sotheby’s and is being held in the auction house’s Manhattan showroom,

Read the whole article. Don’t miss the slideshow that features high tunnels at the McEnroe Farm in Millerton, N.Y.

Hanging baskets of petunias and tomatoes in high tunnels?

Here’s a new research report available on the Cornell High Tunnel website:

High Tunnel Hanging Baskets
A new crop trial sponsored by the New York Farm Viability Institute
Judson Reid, Principal Investigator
Cornell Vegetable Program

In a nutshell, Reid found the addition of hanging baskets of petunias in a high tunnel over tomatoes to be marginally more profitable than tomatoes alone. (Reduced tomato yields from shading largely offset the profits from the petunias.) There is also increased risk of spread of insects and diseases between the flowers and vegetables.

Reid cautions not to draw too many firm conclusions from a single trial. He writes, “The Cornell Vegetable Program will continue to evaluate hanging baskets in high tunnels. Could a lower density of baskets be grown without affecting tomato yield? This question will be answered in a NESARE funded trial in 2010. Multiple combinations of petunias and other cold tolerant flower species will be evaluated for economic performance.”

Read the whole report.

Webinars: Growing berries in high tunnels

If you weren’t able to participate live in the two recent online web seminars (‘webinars’ for short) covering berry production in high tunnels, you can view them online:

The berry webinar series is funded by the Northeastern IPM Center.

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