- Vegetables: cucurbits
- Crop Production: grafting, high tunnels or hoop houses
Short growing seasons in the North Central Region limit farmers’ participation in local food markets. High tunnels are valuable tools for season extension. Farmers who consistently grow tomatoes in high tunnels need additional high-value crops to increase the sustainability of the production systems. As a potentially promising alternative, greenhouse cucumbers are high-value and high-demand crops, but low soil temperatures in early spring limit its extended season production in high tunnel systems. This project introduces grafting technology with cold tolerant rootstocks to address this challenge. Four high tunnel growers across Indiana will participate in the project. The growers will learn cucumber grafting techniques and conduct on-farm trials to assess the effectiveness of using grafting to extend early season production and increase the yield of greenhouse cucumbers in high tunnel systems. Economic feasibility analyses will be conducted by using cost and revenue data provided by participating farmers. A field day and a workshop will be conducted in the second year. Extension bulletins, a video, as well as presentations and grower panel discussions, will disseminate the project results to broader audiences.
Project objectives from proposal:
Objective 1. Evaluate the effectiveness of using grafting technology to enhance early season production, control pests, and increase the yield of seedless cucumbers grown in high tunnel systems.
Objective 2. Determine the economic feasibility of integrating grafting technology into high tunnel greenhouse cucumber production systems.
Objective 3. Train farmers about cucumber grafting technique, and develop and deliver extension programs on the integrated use of grafting technology in growing greenhouse cucumbers in high tunnel systems in the North Central Region.