- Additional Plants: herbs
- Crop Production: application rate management, crop rotation, irrigation, tissue analysis
- Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns
- Production Systems: general crop production
- Sustainable Communities: sustainability measures
There is increasing demand for year round locally grown produce. High tunnels can provide an avenue of increasing supply to meet this demand. Very little research has been conducted in the Gulf South region on sustainable production of herbs and salad greens in high tunnels. High tunnels are used to modify the environment by increasing air and soil temperatures, resulting in higher rates of growth and earlier yields when compared to open field grown crops. Field studies will be conducted in the fall and winter of 2011 to evaluate the effect of high tunnels on the growth, yield, and nitrate levels present in the edible portions of parsley, cilantro and a green leaf lettuce. Cilantro, parsley, and leaf lettuce will be transplanted into black plastic mulched beds on 1.22 meter centers with plots 3 meters long either in a high tunnel or open field. The various crops will be planted in three replications using a randomized complete block design. All plots will have black plastic mulch with drip irrigation installed. Fertilization will follow commercial recommendations with a pre-plant application based on soil test recommendations and side dressing with nitrogen fertilizer. Leaf area, chlorophyll, nitrates and yield will be measured at each harvest. Nitrates, growth and yield in the high tunnel treatment is expected to be greater than that in the open field due to the effect of increased soil and air temperatures on growing degree-days in the high tunnel.
Project objectives from proposal:
1. To investigate the effect of high tunnels on crop growth, quality and yield.
2. To determine the difference in environment parameters between high tunnels and field production.
3. To determine profitability of high tunnels using crop budgets.