EXPERT TIP: Tips for Fall Salad Mix Production in a Hoophouse/High Tunnel

by Karen McSwain, CFSA’s Organic Initiative Coordinator

  1. Make sure the doors of your hoophouse are well sealed and there are no holes in the plastic.
  2. While there are many factors that affect the temperature inside a hoophouse, temperatures can be 15-30 degrees hotter inside an unvented hoophouse than outside. Therefore, it is important to open hoophouse doors and/or roll up sides on warm days.  Don’t forget to close them at night if it is going to be cold.
  3. If you have never grown salad mix before, I recommend you start with a mixed variety package. Once you figure out your production system then you can start to experiment with designing your own mix.
  4. Lettuce seeds NEED light to germinate so make sure you do not sow your seeds deeper than 1/8 to 1/4 inch. —– This line is about a 1/4 inch.
  5. Follow the in-between and within row spacing directions on your seed packet. Planting too close can increase pest problems. Also, remember you will be harvesting by hand so make sure you can easily reach your rows.
  6. Seeds need water to germinate; therefore, it is vital to keep soil moist.  Seedlings are at their most vulnerable state during the white thread stage. This is when seeds have germinated but seedlings have not emerged yet.
  7. In order to have salad mix every week you will want to plant multiple generations. While this can be an exact science, I usually planted a generation a week for four weeks. However, you need to take into account your space and market needs to determine what will work for you.
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