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To improve sustainability, farmers use intensive production systems such as mulches, floating row covers as well as low tunnels and high tunnels to protect against cold temperatures and extend the production season of high value specialty crops. Farmers use row covers as low tunnels or floating blankets to protect against light freezes in the spring and then remove them after the risk has passed. Additional benefits of low tunnels include enhance vegetative growth and increased yield, protection against insects, reduced evapotranspiration and irrigation water needs, and improved nutrient as well as land use efficiency. Therefore, low tunnels can improve the sustainability of specialty crops operations. Here we discuss the benefits of using low tunnels for season-long production of specialty crops.
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Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.
May 30, 2018