- Vegetables: greens (lettuces)
- Crop Production: cropping systems, high tunnels or hoop houses, organic fertilizers, row covers (for season extension)
- Farm Business Management: farmers' markets/farm stands, market study
- Pest Management: cultural control, prevention, weather monitoring
- Production Systems: organic agriculture, organic certification
- Sustainable Communities: local and regional food systems, urban agriculture
There is a growing interest in local and organic production of high-value produce under high tunnels and lots of market opportunities for spring lettuce. However, the existing body of literature and recommendations for high tunnel production comes primarily from cooler and drier climates and does not represent the rapidly fluctuating temperatures and a quick seasonal transition that is typical in the Southeast region. The goal of this project is to investigate the performance of multiple lettuce varieties for spring production of organic head lettuce under high tunnels compared to the open field in Georgia. We will evaluate the effects of high tunnels on marketable yields as well as the performance of multiple varieties of lettuce at three planting dates. A consumer survey focused on visual appeal and taste testing will add to the development of a tailored approach for profitable and environmentally friendly production of organic lettuce in Georgia.
Project objectives from proposal:
1) Evaluate the effect of high tunnels on spring organic lettuce production in Georgia.
2) Compare the performance of different lettuce varieties in each growing system.
3) Assess the effect of three different planting dates on crop yield.
4) Describe the microclimate of each growing system throughout the spring season.
5) Conduct consumer taste test and visual assessment of the top-performing lettuce varieties to better understand market preferences.