Risk and Nutrient Management in High Tunnels

Risk and Nutrient Management in High Tunnels


Inside of high tunnels there’s protection from several
really important ubiquitous diseases of tomato plants *music* on the other side there are a few diseases
that are unique to the high tunnel situation because of the high humidity but what we don’t
have inside the high tunnel is wet leaf surfaces and that’s where the most devastating and
destructive diseases that’s what they need to really take down a crop another benefit even in the summertime of having crops inside of high tunnels is that the strong weather events especially
peltingrain and hail storms, strong winds can the damage from that can be reduced
tremendously inside the high tunnel so we do see a lot more risk management
built into such a system like this at the same time this is an expensive
piece of real estate for growers but we’re covering about a twentieth of an
acre right here and what you can produce inside of this tunnel on a twentieth of an
acre can in some cases outperform what you can produce on an acre out in the field a full
acre one of the areas that I’m very interested in which really not much conclusive work has been done
on is how to feed tomato plants that are going to live 17 or 18 weeks growing in the soil in the ground in the
high tunnel again this is not a greenhouse situation these plants are not growing in artificial medium or
in a hydroponic situation they’re growing in real soil which means we have to develop methods of
managing soil inside a high tunnel situation that’s quite different from out in the field in the
field in most years there’s adequate rainfall what we use inside of high tunnels is drip
irrigation and so the zone of wetness is not very big and we manage strips of soil
rather than managing the entire footprint that the building is covering and we are always looking to maintain organic matter levels and microbial activity because that’s one of the big keys to
healthy root systems and nutrient release

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