High tunnels can extend the season for specialty crops

Horticulture Research Specialist with the Williston Research and Extension Center (WREC), Kyla Splichal has been working with the North Dakota Department of Ag Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. The experiment consists of growing specialty crops such as tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, delphiniums, snapdragons, lisianthus, and dahlias in a high tunnel structure versus outside.

The project was first discussed in late 2014 by Splichal with WREC, and Esther McGinnis, Extension Horticulturist, and High Value Crop Specialist Harlene Hatterman-Valenti both with NDSU Fargo. In the spring of 2015, the group applied for an Expanding Local Specialty Crop Opportunities in North Dakota grant and was awarded the grant in October of 2015.

The 26' x 96' structure was ordered from Rimol Supply Company out of New Hampshire, with the total cost of supplies and shipping tallying between $12,000 and $15,000. The three main objectives for this project are to compare common varieties of traditional high tunnel crops, evaluate varieties of cut flowers, and establish an information hub for local producers.

Read more at The Roundup

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