Alternative Crops for High Tunnels

Alternative Crops for High Tunnels


so high tunnels are an important method that farmers use to protect themselves against climate variability and against extreme weather events so inside a high tunnel an extreme rain event, a hail storm all of these become essentially less damaging typically growers use high tunnels for producing very high value crops and the most common one is tomatoes throughout northern New England and this experiment here is focused on looking at an alternative crop for high tunnels and evaluating the feasibility and evaluating whether it may make sense for producers to look at producing this crop these are colored bell peppers they’re greenhouse varieties of bell peppers that are breed for greenhouse conditions we also have some that are breed for field conditions in here as a comparison and essentially what we’re doing is comparing all of these varieties throughout the growing season and looking at the quality of the fruit they produce and the yields of fruit they produce we’re in the second year of this experiment so we’ve done this experiment one growing season and we’re repeating it now and what we expect to find if things turn out the same way as they did last year is that these peppers actually do yield higher than they would in field conditions and that there were not very big differences between the different varieties so this is useful for growers to know if they are going to produce peppers in high tunnels which varieties work best and it turns out they have a lot to choose from and they can also have a relative comparison of how much better it might be to grow in tunnels versus outside tunnels it turns out that while we do see higher yields in high tunnels the higher yields may not be enough higher to warrant this valuable high tunnel space and for us its just as good a result to have to have a negative result and communicate that as a positive result because it helps growers avoid doing this if it’s not going to make sense and if it turns out that it does make sense they just can make an informed decision

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