BOWLING GREEN, Mo. – University of Missouri Extension will offer an eight-week winter webinar series on growing specialty crops in tunnels.
“Growing Specialty Crops in Tunnels – Protected Agriculture” runs 6:30-8 p.m. Tuesdays, Jan. 24 to March 14, 2023.
Extension educators and researchers from the Midwest, as well as high tunnel growers, will teach the classes. Topics include an overview of structures and mulches, high tunnel fruit production, irrigation, fertility management and soil issues, insect and disease management, economics of diversifying crop rotations, high tunnel tomato production, a grower panel on winter production, and benefits of low tunnel production.
“There has been an increased interest in production of specialty crops in high, medium and low tunnels over the past several decades,” says MU Extension horticulture specialist Justin Keay. The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service offers cost-share programs to support the purchase of high tunnels.
Presenters will explain how tunnels can give growers more control over temperature, light and water, improving growing conditions for plants. Keay says extending the growing season by using tunnels lets growers market before and after the peak of the season, when a glut of produce often leads to lower prices and smaller returns for growers.
The series will detail both the opportunities and challenges that come with growing in these systems, Keay says.
Recordings of classes will be available for registrants who can’t attend the live sessions.
Scholarships are available to Missouri beginning farmers and can be redeemed at registration.
— MU Extension