Lancaster farming. (Lancaster, Pa., etc.) 1955-current, January 22, 2000, Image 151

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    High Tunnel Technology
Start-up costs
Structure costs
(frame, side boards, roll-up parts
and side walls)
Construction Labor
Plastic (cover for tunnel and
plastic for rows)
Trickle Irrigation System
Total Start Up Costs
Annual Costs
Stakes and string
Misc. (small tools, repairs, etc)
Total Annual Costs
Annual Returns and Expenses Per Tunnel Per
Receipts 2,000 lbs. @ $1.60/lb $3,200 00 $1.60
Marketing Costs $ 800.00 $ .40
Total Annual Costs $ 665.80 $ 33
Net Annual Returns $1,734.20 $ .87
As with all agriculture, the available mar
ket is one of the largest factors to be consid
ered. In some more urban areas, retail toma
toes start at $2.40 per pound.
Report On Other Crops
The other trials conducted in the high tun
nel were largely successful as well.
Cantaloupe and watermelon were planted in
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$ 85.00
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$ 63.00
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$ 110.00
$ 414.00
$ 25.00
$ 665.80
the other house on May 9. The objective for
the cantaloupe was to harvest them as early
as possible in order to again capture the early
market. The variety of cantaloupe tested was
Earligold, a variety with 68 days until har
vest. The first harvest was made on July 8 but
the numbers did not increase until a week
later. In spite of their relatively small size,
they sold for $2.50 each because of their earli
ness. One deficiency observed was that they
did not have the taste that later melons devel
Two different varieties of watermelons
were tried: Golden Crown and Million Bucks.
Golden Crown is a small round melon, yellow
on the outside and red on the inside. They
have excellent taste and are very early with
only 60 days until harvest. These melons also
sold for $2.50 each and are very popular at
the farmer’s market. They were first harvest
ed on July 9. The other variety of watermelon,
Million Bucks, is a large traditional melon.
They possess good size and flavor. Million
Bucks was first harvested on July 30 and they
take 78 days until harvest. They sold for 30
cents per pound. The problem with both
watermelon varieties was low yield. This pos
sibly could be due to a lack of effective polli
nation; however, the cantaloupe in the same
house yielded very well.
Another experiment was to plant three
plants of a patio tomato to observe how they
would yield. The variety was called Fourth of
July and had 44 days until harvest. The first
harvest of Fourth of July was on July 19, two
days after the first harvest of Bush Early
Girl, so they were extremely late. Their yields
were excellent.
Gurney’s Giant, the variety of pepper
grown, is a large thick-fleshed pepper. They
did very well in the high tunnel and produced
large, excellent quality peppers. They have 70
days until harvest with the first harvest on
July 5. One problem with growing peppers in
the high tunnel is that the plants grew so
large that they had to be staked so that they
did not fall over.
Million Bucks
Golden Crown 3/27
4th of July
Gurney’s Giant 3/25
The final analysis of this year’s trials
indicate that some changes should be
implemented for the small scale grower.
The melon house should be planted com
pletely in high value muskmelons
because watermelon do not seem to pro
duce the level of yields required to make
them worth the space
implemented for the small scale grower.
The melon house should be planted com
pletely in high value muskmelons
because watermelon do not seem to pro
duce the level of yields required to make
them worth the space. That space could
be better utilized to grow something else
more profitable. Additionally, there is
excessive room for making mistakes
when harvesting watermelon.
In the high tunnel there was no way
of knowing just how much the additional
night heat sped up the watermelon’s
maturing process with the result that the
days until harvest did not indicate clear
ly as to when to expect ripening. As you
can see by the chart comparing the days
until harvest, the peppers taking 70 days
were harvested 14 days early. This was
typical for many of the crops in these tri
It is difficult to determine how differ
ent species of plants are going to react to
high tunnel growing conditions.
Watermelons are especially hard because
they do not offer a reliable way to discern
harvestability. This year many mistakes
were made wasting melons by taking
them underripe.
High tunnels are an excellent way to
get the edge of the early or late markets
for vegetables. They can be very prof
itable and therefore a good supplement to
a small farm’s income. Another way
to use a tunnel is to take advantage of
the early start and grow several consecu
tive crops of vegetables in the same sea-
Period Extended
For Proposals
extending the submission period for propos
als for a national sheep and lamb promotion,
research, and information order from Dec. 23
to Feb. 1, 2000.
An order is authorized by and must be con
sistent with the Commodity Promotion,
Research, and Information Act of 1996. Prop
osals for an order or for portions of an order
may be submitted by any interested person,
group, or organization.
Kathleen A. Merrigan, administrator of
USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, said
an order would provide for assessments on
sales of sheep and lambs and for an industry
board to cany out promotion, research, and
information programs designed to increase
the demand for sheep and lamb.
The request for proposals for a sheep and
lamb promotion, research, and information
order was published in the Nov. 23, Federal
Register. Responses should be sent in dupli
cate to Ralph L. Tapp, Chief, Marketing Prog
rams Brandi, Room 2627-S, Livestock and
Seed Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Indepen
dence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C.
20090-6456, to be received no later than Feb.
1. For additional information, call (202)
Days Until First
Harvest Harvest
78 7/30