August 5, 2008 � use by August 20
Contact: Sue Gwise, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County, 315-788-8450
Amy Ivy, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Clinton County, 518-561-7450.

NNY High Tunnel Events August 20, 27-28 in Adams Center, Willsboro & Keene Valley

Due to increasing interest in using covered structures known as high tunnels to extend the growing season in the cooler North County climate, a series of four High Tunnel Open Houses are set for Adams Center on August 20, Willsboro on August 27 and Keene Valley, NY on August 28. Speakers at each event include Cornell University high tunnel specialist H. Christian Wien, greenhouse and high tunnel vegetable specialist Judson Reid of the Cornell Vegetable Program, and the host growers.

Wien, a professor of horticulture at Cornell, will answer questions on high tunnel design and construction and on wind and temperature  management.

�Just putting a sheet of clear plastic over plants can profoundly affect many aspects of plant growth and performance,� Wien says.

Wien says he expects the use of high tunnels in New York to return a gain of $500,000 per year in the farm-gate value of the state�s horticultural crops by 2010.

Reid has worked with growers producing diverse crops, including tomatoes, watermelon, cantaloupe, cabbage and onions, using high tunnels up to 300 feet long. He says, �For example, tomatoes are well-suited to high tunnel production. Growers can produce 15 to 20 pounds of saleable tomatoes per plant � that definitely makes this type of production something to consider.�

The host growers will share their local experiences with using the tunnels to grow fruit, vegetables and flowers.

At Almedan Produce in Adams Center, Almeda Grandjean built Jefferson County�s first high tunnel for commercial production in 2005 and rebuilt in 2006 after a fall storm destroyed the first structure. She has grown tomatoes, colored peppers and cucumbers in the tunnel and sells to area schools, farmers� markets shoppers and through a Community Supported Agriculture program that provides food by subscription to members.

In 2008 for the first time at Carriage House Garden Center in Willsboro, Christine and Mike McAuliffe tested a high tunnel with battery-powered roll-up sides. Christine says, �We are already thinking about putting up another one. It worked very well this year with the annuals we raised on pallets and the plants we in the ground under cover.�

At the Cornell E.V. Baker Agricultural Research Farm in Willsboro, Farm Manager Michael Davis and Farm Technician Richard Lamoy have grown a variety of crops in a tunnel they constructed in 2006. Davis says, "Much of our tunnel space is devoted to strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries. Having these fruit crops protected from all the rain has been a huge benefit this summer as we've had excellent yields of high quality berries with no disease problems."
At Rivermede Farm in Keene Rob Hastings grows a wide variety of fresh produce, herbs and flowers in 10 high tunnels and greenhouses. He has made good use of season extension techniques in the North Country and will talk about the pros and cons of the various types of tunnels. Hastings is developing production practices that will allow him to grow multiple crops 12 months a year in the challenging Adirondack climate.
Open house co-organizer Amy Ivy of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Clinton County says, �Growing certain types of produce and cut flowers makes good sense in the North Country. The tunnels extend our short growing season by several weeks and reduce disease problems by keeping rain off the plants. More and more calls are coming in to Extension offices around our region for information and those who are already using high tunnels love them. These open house events provide an excellent opportunity to learn first hand from Cornell specialists and regional growers.�

The free Open Houses will be held:
� Wednesday, August 20th from 5:30-7:30 pm at Almedan Produce, 13501 County Route 155, Adams Center (Jefferson County)

� Wednesday, August 27th from 5:30-6:30 pm at Carriage House Garden Center, 4002 Route 22, Willsboro (Essex County)

� Wednesday, August 27th from 6:30-7:30 pm at Cornell E.V. Baker Agricultural Research Farm, Point Road, Willsboro (Essex County)

� Thursday, August 28th from 5;30-7:30 pm at Rivermede Farm, Beede Road, Keene Valley.

For more information on the open houses, contact Sue Gwise at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County, 315-788-8450, or Amy Ivy at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Clinton County, 518-561-7450. The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program provided the funding for this series of educational open houses.
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