OPTIMIZING HIGH TUNNEL USE FOR CUT FLOWER PRODUCTION IN THE NORTHEASTERN UNITED STATES

H.C. Wien
Cut flowers in the Northeastern US are grown and marketed as seasonal crops during the growing season. High tunnels extend that season by about 3 weeks at each end, and can thus significantly increase length of the marketing season. They have become common structures on cut flower farms, as growers recognize that many cut flower species will produce earlier, higher quality blooms and longer stems in the protected environment than in an open field. For instance, in 5 years of comparative trials with lisianthus (Eustoma grandiflora) in high tunnel and open field, averaging 9 cultivars per trial, flower harvest began 13 days earlier in the tunnel, stem length was increased 11 and yield by 37%. Similar improvements in growth of individual species have been observed with delphinium (Delphinium elatum), Celosia argentea, Trachelium caeruleum, Gomphrena globosa, Campanula medium and Craspedia globosa. An additional advantage of the high tunnel is that the longer growing season can be used by more than one species, grown in succession. Early, cold-tolerant species such as stock (Matthiola incana), can be followed by heat-tolerant species such as Eustoma or Zinnia to ensure that the high tunnel is producing crops from May through October. The milder climate in the high tunnel over winter can ensure earlier harvests of fall-planted tulips (Tulipa spp.) and larkspur (Consolida spp.). Thus choice of cut flower species that fit into particular periods of the extended high tunnel growing season can maximize income from high tunnels.
Wien, H.C. (2013). OPTIMIZING HIGH TUNNEL USE FOR CUT FLOWER PRODUCTION IN THE NORTHEASTERN UNITED STATES. Acta Hortic. 987, 55-58
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2013.987.7
https://doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.2013.987.7
lisianthus, celosia, Campanula, marketing, succession cropping
English