Note to readers, attached is the complete final report for FNE04-539.
The purpose of this project was to gain experience and evaluate the benefit of growing two high value cut flowers (Lisianthus and Sunflowers) in high tunnels. By growing these crops in a tunnel we hoped to extend our Spring and Fall marketing season thereby increase farm income.
Five 96-foot beds were planted (3 sunflower, 2 lisianthus) in the tunnel. Data was collected on the harvest dates, stem length and flower quality comparing inside and out. We also compared growing sunflowers on green vs. black plastic inside the tunnel.
The trial yielded the following results:
1) the spring sunflower crop in the tunnel was harvested 3 weeks in advance of the normal field grown crop
2)the fall sunflower crop extended the harvest season by 4 weeks
3)the total 7 week season extension allowed us to gain marketing advantage and increased our sunflower sales by $3,000
4) growing lisianthus in tunnels produced flowers about 12 days ahead of those growing outdoors, and the quality of the tunnel grown flowers was far superior in terms of stem length (22 inches indoors vs. 18 inches outdoors), number of buds (20 indoors vs. 10 outdoors), flower size and quality.
5)customer satisfaction was increased and sales expanded by a total of $1,680. The net benefit from growing cut flowers in high tunnels was the ability to extend the harvest season and increase income over the season.