A SEASON EXTENSION TECHNIQUE FOR COOL SEASON VEGETABLES USING POLY TUNNELS AND ROW COVERS

in HortScience

Spunbonded polyester or polystyrene row covers were used as additional cold protection for spinach (Spinacia oleracea), kale (Brassica oleracea), pak choi (Brassica rapa) and P-types of lettuce (Lactuca savita) grown in ground beds under unheated polyethylene tunnels during the fall and winter of 1991 and 1992 in climatic zone 6. Temperatures inside poly tunnels averaged 2.4C warmer than outside. Average temperatures were 1.9C warmer than control under polystyrene and 1.5C warmer under spunbonded polyester. Average hourly temperatures showed both row covers offered significantly more cold protection than the greenhouse covering alone; but the two row covers offered similar protection from the cold. Row covers did not result in fresh weight differences in most of the species tested, except kale which had greater fresh weight in control. It may be concluded that during a similar mild winter, these cool season vegetables could be grown under unheated polyethylene tunnels with no additional protection necessary. When temperatures are lower, row covers could provide the protection required to produce these crops.

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