Scheduling Vegetable Planting for Winter Protected Production in the Midwest

Project Overview

Project Type: Partnership
Funds awarded in 2015: $29,994.00
Projected End Date: 04/30/2018
Grant Recipient: Purdue University
Region: North Central
State: Indiana
Project Coordinator:
Elizabeth Maynard
Purdue University

Annual Reports

Information Products


  • Vegetables: greens (leafy), greens (lettuces)


  • Crop Production: high tunnels or hoop houses

    Proposal abstract:

    In the North Central region vegetables harvested from high and low tunnels in October through April provide value to farms, consumers, and the local food system. Timing production to meet market demands is essential, but sufficiently reliable schedules are not available. Product that is ready too early or too late can mean lost sales, poor quality, and reduced price; in short, decreased profit. Timing production accurately also conserves resources by avoiding the waste that occurs when a crop is not sold. This project will help improve scheduling of cool season crops grown in low and high tunnels in the eastern portion of the North Central region. We will collect data on planting and harvest dates, crop growth and yield, and environmental conditions on partnering farms; develop a model and recommendations for planting dates; and share information through bulletins, workshops, and videos. As a result of this work farms will increase profit, increasing their financial sustainability and conserving resources. In the longer term we anticipate increased food production from protected structures during the ‘off- season,’ with benefits to the local food system, reduced reliance on agriculture in distant areas, and increased consumer satisfaction.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Compile and analyze information previously collected by growers about planting and harvest schedules for cool season crops in protected structures.
    2. Document planting and harvest dates, yield, crop growth, and environmental conditions for selected cool season crops in unheated and minimally heated high tunnels and low tunnels.
    3. Create a simple model to recommend planting dates for these crops
    4. Test the planting date recommendations.
    5. Create a tool that farmers can use to improve crop scheduling for these crops in high and low tunnels.
    6. Inform farmers and others and train them to use the tool.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.