A fast and vigorous start for the high tunnel tomato crop is everyone’s goal. Proper and coordinated irrigation and fertility programs can help.
However, there are limits to how much growers can ‘push’ the crop, especially by feeding it. For fertigated tomato crops, ‘feed and water according to documented need’ may be a useful rule of thumb.
– Matt Kleinhenz, Extension Vegetable Specialist, OSU
There are take home messages for New Jersey growers in this week’s VegNet. Vegetable Extension Specialist Matt Kleinhenz discusses grower calls concerning expectations for early tomatoes in high tunnels. Go to VegNet Volume 21 Number 2 to read the full article.
- Light and temperature drive demand for water and nutrients during young crop establishment. Currently, day length is still short, light level and temperatures are low.
- The higher temperatures seen in the high tunnel does not overcome the starving effect of low light – and may, surprisingly, lead to slower growth of young plants.
- Optimize irrigation water temperature to avoid adversely impacting soil warming and bathing the root zone in cool water which slows plant growth.
- Aggressive irrigation and fertility programs during crop establishment cannot override crop physiology and growing conditions.