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Commercial Fruit and Vegetable Growers

From Dixon Springs Ag Center: Crop development looking good in high tunnels

tomatoes and flowers growing in raised beds inside high tunnel

In our current research project, “Strategies for Improving Biological Control of Insect Pests for Vegetable Growers Utilizing High Tunnels”, the second treatment or strategy besides establishing and overwintering cover crops is growing a row of cut flowers within the same high tunnel as the tomato cash crop. From previous research at DSAC, cut flowers drew a diversity of insects into the high tunnel that were not present in the other tunnel where no flowers were grown. By placing the cut flower row in the center of the tunnel, insect monitoring and collecting will inform us about insect activity throughout the high tunnel, with the hopes of seeing increases in predatory and beneficial insects in all rows. Additionally, the cut flowers can also provide some economic return. Stock, celosia, zinnias, sunflowers, and lupine are the five types of flowers growing in the high tunnel. Stock and sunflower transplants will be planted throughout the growing season after harvests from the first plantings are complete. The cover crop residue as well as the cut flowers can be seen in the photo and represent both treatment strategies being researched.