2021-2024 SCBG-UK-High Tunnel: Evaluation of the Inter-Season Rotation of Tomato with Fresh-cut Flowers in a High Tunnel System for Improved Pest, Disease, and Soil Management

Grants and Contracts Details

Description

Evaluation of the Inter-season Rotation of Tomato with Fresh-cut Flowers in a High Tunnel System for Improved Pest, Disease, and Soil Management High tunnel growers need a high-value crop that can be planted after tomato season to serve as a rotation during the cooler months. This crop would not replace tomatoes, but would be in rotation with the tomato crop as most growers are unwilling to replace the spring-summer tomato crop because of the reduced profit potential, but they indicate that they are willing to follow with a cooler season crop. In KY high tunnels, tomato production terminates in August or September. Ideally, the rotational crop would be less labor and infrastructure intensive than tomato in order to keep profit margins high. This crop will also not share the same pests or diseases as tomato, thereby serving to break the lifecycle of pests and pathogens that are common in high tunnel tomato production systems. Fresh-cut annual flowers may be a viable option for rotation with tomato and other vegetable crops in high tunnels. As with other specialty crops, high tunnels provide an extension to what can otherwise be a short season for cut flowers. Additionally, fresh- cut flowers have the potential to be profitable when sold to local florists or at farmers markets in bunches or as prepared bouquets. However, there is limited information about fresh-cut flower production in KY (in field or high tunnel), including management, costs, and market prices. The objectives of this project are to better understand the potential pests and diseases of fall- grown high tunnel flowers that follow a tomato crop, determine if flowers help disrupt the potential pest and disease cycle of high tunnel tomatoes, determine the fertility requirements of high flowers, determine best planting dates for various flower varieties, create planting and management recommendations for growers, and provide demonstrations and workshop to growers and county agents about flower production, management, harvest, and marketing.
StatusActive
Effective start/end date11/1/219/29/24

Funding

  • KY Department of Agriculture: $48,664.00

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