November 10, 2009
Use before December 8, 2009
Cornell Cooperative Extension Contacts: Sue Gwise, Jefferson County, 315-788-8450; Amy Ivy, Clinton County, 518-561-7450

Getting Started in High Tunnels in NNY Conference Set for December 12 in Watertown — Growing season extension done properly can be profitable

Watertown, NY -- Extending the growing season for the commercial production of vegetables, berries and cutflowers is attracting more and more growers in Northern New York. To accommodate that interest Cornell Cooperative Extension is hosting a Getting Started in High Tunnels Conference on Saturday, December 12 from 10am to 2:30pmat the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County office at 203 N. Hamilton Street in Watertown, NY. Conference sponsors include the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program and the New York Farm Viability Institute.

Conference Coordinator and Extension Educator Amy Ivy says, “The Getting Started in High Tunnels Conference agenda will help growers who already have a tunnel structure or are considering getting started with one.”

The tunnel structures may be Quonset-style “hoop houses,” Gothic-style peaked roof structures, or caterpillar-style closer-to-the-ground tunnels. Crops grown under these structures out-produce crops grown in the field with less damage and fewer disease problems. Tunnels allow growers to start plants earlier in the spring and harvest later in the fall as well as into the winter season.

New York State Vegetable Specialist Judson Reid and Nelson Hoover of Hoover Family Farm in Penn Yan, NY, are the featured speakers. Topics to be covered include the different types of season-extension structures and soil preparation. An in-depth session will focus on tomato production. A discussion of other possible crops for high tunnel crop production is also on the agenda.

A panel of local and greenhouse growers will share their experiences using tunnels and greenhouses in Northern New York’s cold climate.

Earlier this year, Cornell researchers released economic impact data for high tunnel production. Their report showed a net income per square foot of high tunnel space for some growers of 57 cents/sq. ft. to $1.44/sq. ft. of tomatoes; and $1.51/sq.ft. for raspberries.

The conference cost is $20 per person and includes a catered local foods lunch. Registration is requested by December 8. For a program brochure and registration, contact Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County at 315-788-8450 or Amy Ivy at adi2@cornell.edu.

Learn more about Northern New York agriculture by contacting your local Cornell Cooperative Extension office or visit the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program website at www.nnyagdev.org.  #