by Gena Moore, CFSA Organic Research Coordinator

Tomatoes are one of the leading crops grown in high tunnels throughout the Carolinas. With the capability for season extension, tomato transplant dates for high tunnels are already quickly approaching.

Targeting an early market with tomatoes can mean higher profits for many farmers.

While most production plans are set for our upcoming growing season, there are some critical decisions to be made in regards to the implementation of a production plan.

Early spring grafted and un-grafted heirloom tomatoes in a high tunnel at Lomax Farm.

Early spring grafted and un-grafted heirloom tomatoes in a high tunnel at Lomax Farm.

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Updated by Joe Rowland, CFSA Organic Initiatives Coordinator | Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022 –

Constructed high tunnel bows

CFSA’s farm, Elma C. Lomax Education & Research Farm in Concord, NC, was awarded an NRCS-EQIP contract for a high tunnel through the High Tunnel Systems Initiative. Construction began during a field day at Lomax on October 3, 2017.

The Lomax Farm staff documented the process, from applying for the NRCS grant to beginning construction of the high tunnel. If you are thinking about applying for funding for an NRCS-EQIP high tunnel, here is what you need to know.

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by Stephen Nix, CFSA’s SC Food Systems Coordinator

Cold-hardy collards in a field at Perry-Winkle Farm. Photo by Stephen Nix.

Believe it or not, colder weather is right around (almost) the corner. Most of us have experienced temperatures in the 90s (if not higher) for at least the last month, but August is here and the official ‘dog days’ of summer are upon us. August marks the time when many farmers begin transitioning to fall crops and while the cooler weather will become a welcome respite from this summer’s heat, the last thing on our minds right now is the cold(er) winter ahead. However, it is never too early to start planning for cold-hardy crops and overwintering to provide a continuous supply of fresh vegetables throughout winter and to get an early start next spring. (more…)

by Gena Moore, CFSA’s Organic Research Coordinatorlomax-slide-3

I’m sure you’ve heard that no two snowflakes are the alike.  The same can be said for high tunnels.  The fact that all high tunnels are different makes determining planting dates difficult for many growers.  Accepting general planting date recommendations can be a risk when working in high tunnels and risk taking in agriculture is, well, risky.  Although determining planting dates for high tunnel production can be challenging, if you get to know your tunnel, you can minimize your risk.

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by Keith Baldwin, Farm Services Coordinator

Summer heat, humidity, and insect and disease pressure normally limit the production of spring-planted tomatoes to the months of June, July, and August. Multiple or sequential spring plantings are only somewhat effective in extending harvest beyond this “market window” because of the fruiting characteristics of tomatoes. Most tomato cultivars stop setting fruit when daytime and nighttime temperatures are above 90°F and 70°F, respectively. However, there are tomato cultivars available today that are “heat tolerant.” These cultivars will continue to set fruit in spite of temperatures above the thresholds described above. And they will provide you with tomatoes when no one else has any growing.

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