A Practical Guide to Understanding and Implementing Micro-irrigation in High Tunnels

high-tunnel-micro-irrigation-guide

High tunnels can be a great resource for farmers. The season extension capabilities provided by high tunnels can open up new opportunities and price premiums in the local marketplace. However, producing in high tunnels is different from field production and can be difficult to master.

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by Gena Moore, CFSA’s Organic Research Coordinator

Overhead Irrigation in a High Tunnel

A cover crop stand of sunflowers in a high tunnel irrigated with a wobbler head sprinkler system at Lomax Farm.

Irrigation is a much debated topic among many farmers. Some simply rely on rain and hand watering while others meticulously run drip tape and spend countless hours monitoring and adjusting irrigation schedules. Whether you produce in the field, high tunnel, or greenhouse, water amounts can greatly impact the health and vigor of your crops. For example, bitterness in cucumbers can be caused by the lack of or inconsistent watering. Also, crops like tomatoes require varying amounts of water throughout their life cycle. Adjusting irrigation amounts for tomatoes can impact the marketable quality of fruit. No one likes bitter cucumbers or ugly tomatoes so taking the time to research and plan irrigation can influence marketable harvests and, in-turn, profit. (more…)

By Patricia Tripp, CFSA’s Local Produce Safety Coordinator

 

Water is a basic necessity of life and is essential in the production of fresh fruits and vegetables. Not only is water used for irrigation purposes in agriculture, but it is also often used for cleaning purposes before marketing the produce. Water may also be used to protect crops from frost or to apply fertilizers or pesticides. Ensuring that you have clean water on the farm for these practices is an important part of minimizing contamination by disease-causing microorganisms called pathogens. Water can carry pathogens such as Giardia, Cryptosporidium, Norovirus, Salmonella, and E. coli 0157:H7 (more…)