Saturday, March 17, 2012

Season extension with mini-tunnels

Ajay Nair
Assistant Professor
Department of Horticulture, Iowa State University

Short growing seasons are typical in Iowa (although 2012 can change things around!). The risk of frost damage and low soil and air temperatures during the growing season are major constraints for vegetable production. Strategies that help extend growing seasons are thus imperative for successful production of fresh and quality produce. With increased interest and demand for locally grown produce growers are diversifying their production operations and integrating a wide variety of crops into their cropping systems. A crop that could be easily grown and could fetch a good price in the market is lettuce. The following video was recorded in November 2011 and discusses the use of mini-tunnels for lettuce production in October. This study also investigated the effect of row cover and calcium application on fall lettuce (Lactuca sativa L. ‘Ermosa’) production at the Horticulture Research Station, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. Three week old lettuce transplants were transplanted on 3 October, 2011on raised beds covered with black plastic mulch. A medium weight row cover was installed over the row cover treatment one week after transplanting.  

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