Plasticulture technology, especially high tunnels for extending the production period of a wide variety of horticultural crops, is an accepted production practice worldwide. In particular, high tunnels offer a production system that minimizes the effect of the environment on crop production and allows growers to continue to farm in densely populated areas. Only recently has the use of high tunnels in the U.S. been investigated and this research has been centered in the northeastern U.S. In 1999 the High Tunnel Research and Education Facility was established at Pennsylvania State University that resulted in the development of a unique high tunnel design. A detailed description of the new design and construction is presented in this report.
William J. Lamont Jr., Martin R. McGann, Michael D. Orzolek, Nymbura Mbugua, Bruce Dye, and Dayton Reese
William J. Lamont Jr., Michael D. Orzolek, E. Jay Holcomb, Kathy Demchak, Eric Burkhart, Lisa White, and Bruce Dye
At the Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) High Tunnel Research and Education Facility, a system of production of high-value horticultural crops in high tunnels has been developed that uses plastic mulch and drip irrigation. The Penn State system involves small-scale, plastic-application equipment that prepares and applies plastic mulch and drip-irrigation tape to individual raised beds. It differs from the production system developed by researchers at the University of New Hampshire in which drip-irrigation tape is manually applied to the soil surface and then the entire soil surface in the high tunnel is covered with a black plastic sheet. An overview of the production system used in the Penn State high tunnels is presented in this report.
William J. Lamont Jr., Michael D. Orzolek, E. Jay Holcomb, Robert M. Crassweller, Kathy Demchak, Eric Burkhart, Lisa White, and Bruce Dye
The Center for Plasticulture's High Tunnel Research and Education Facility was established at Pennsylvania State University in 1999. Since its inception, applied research has been conducted at this facility by a team of researchers and extension specialists on the development of a new high tunnel design. The development of crop production recommendations for vegetables, small fruits, tree fruits and cut flowers grown in high tunnels has been a priority. To complement the applied research program, an aggressive extension education program was developed to extend information on the technology of high tunnels to county extension personnel, growers, industry representatives, students, master gardeners and the general public. The extension programming effort consisting of demonstration high tunnels, field days, tours, in-service training, publications and presentations made at winter meetings will be discussed in the report below.