High tunnel production is economically critical to Northeastern vegetable growers, and tunnel production area is increasing rapidly. We aim to provide a comprehensive approach to help growers manage tunnel ecosystems through a multi-faceted education program, supported by research on two significant production challenges: management of soil fertility and arthropod pests.
- Soil fertility. There has been limited work to develop and validate appropriate soil testing methods for tunnels. As a result, regionally appropriate recommendations for nutrient management are lacking. A major goal of this project is to develop fertilization guidelines for high tunnel tomatoes based on research.
- Arthropod pest management. Arthropod pests reproduce quickly and thrive in tunnels, especially in the absence of natural enemies. Habitat plants provide conditions that support beneficial arthropods, promoting sustainable low-cost pest management while fostering biodiversity. A major goal of this project is to help growers adopt IPM in high tunnel tomato production.