By Pat Owens of Miller Chemical Company
There are numerous advantages to growing in high tunnels, especially for growing things like tomatoes. But, like all things made better in this fallen world, there are always side effects. If your tomato plants, for instance, grew shorter this year than last year, why? Maybe it’s a soluble salt problem. Why might your high tunnel have associated with it an increase in soil-borne and foliar diseases? Is the phosphorus too high? Are there cover crops that might help soil fertility and weed suppression? It’s always good to have the opportunity to learn something new that might help to make your high tunnel experience better.
Drip Irrigation Basics
By Bill Wohlfram of Toro Irrigation (demonstration following equipment demos)
Learn how drip irrigation can positively affect your crops. Learn about “spoon-feeding” water and nutrients directly to every plant’s root zone despite variations in terrain and soil conditions. Learn from someone who is a widely-traveled trainer of those who wish to use more efficient means of caring for growing crops while at the same time conserving valuable water sources and feeding hungry and/or needy plants the nutrients they need.
Diagnosing Plant Diseases
By Tim Elkner of Penn State Extension
Tim Elkner is no stranger to Horse Progress Days, having presented before in PA in 2017. His years of experience in southeast Pennsylvania make him a great resource for learning about things like downy mildew on butternut squash, leaf blight in Delicata squash, and all other cucurbit crops. Learn how rotating crops can help to lower the presence, or eliminate altogether, the effects of Phytophthora blight which develops as a “powdered sugar” coating of spores on the surface of the fruit it affects. Learn how to spot unwelcome fungi on your plants using hand lens or strong magnifying lens, if you need to. These, and many other things, are the kind of knowledge Tim has to pass on to you.
Natural Soil Fumigation for Vegetables
By Dr. Farncesco Di Gioia of Penn State Extension
There’s chemical fumigation and there used to be something called Methyl Bromide before it was outlawed. These things have been used for soil fumigation to control nematodes and weeds. But now, Dr. Di Gioia is trying something different, and it is not from manufactured chemicals. Instead, a combination of things like off-grade molasses or wheat middlings with things like pelleted chicken manure mixed into the soil and flooded with water under plastic to create anaerobic soil. It’s called Anaerobic Soil Disinfestation (ASD), and it seems to be especially effective on those nasty nematodes that are often at the root, so to speak, of weak-looking plant conditions that might get blamed on other things. The process also needs to be carried out under heat conditions that reach as high as 100 degrees, so it is good for greenhouses or off-season high tunnels. Take this seminar to listen and learn!