Low Tunnel Materials for Warm Season Vegetable Crops Tomato (2010-2011) - 5 pages
Previous trials have demonstrated the benefit of using row covers to enhance early growth of warm season crops like melons and peppers. There are many types of covers available and it is important to select the type of covering material that best suits the needs of the crop. This trial examined the performance of tomatoes grown with different types of row cover.
The trial was conducted at the University of Saskatchewan Horticulture field Research Station in 2009, 2010 and 2011. This site features a Sutherland Series heavy clay soil which is slow to warm in the spring. The site was prepared by rotovating one week prior to transplanting the test crops. Three days before transplanting a wavelength selective (2009 and 2010) or black plastic mulch (2011) was applied to the test plots. Drip irrigation lines were located beneath the mulch. Six week old tomato transplants (cv. Celebrity in 2009 and 2010 and cv. Defiant in 2011) were planted out into the mulched rows once the risk of frost had passed in early June. The plants were spaced 50 cm apart within each row. Each test plot was 5 m long and the rows were 2m apart. Immediately after transplanting, row covers were installed on all plots except for a non-covered control. The cover materials tested were;
a) perforated clear polyethylene – transmits about 85% of the light in the visible spectrum. Clear
perforated polyethylene creates a very warm environment.
b) non-perforated clear polyethylene – would be expected to create an environment even warmer than the equivalent perforated clear poly.
c) perforated green polyethylene - filters out about 41% of incoming light within the visible
spectrum, resulting in cooler temperatures. Filtering certain wavelengths out of the incoming light may also alter the growth pattern of the covered crops.
d) perforated white polyethylene - filters out about 26% of the incoming visible light.
e) Novagryl woven polyester - filters out about 20% of the incoming visible light and is also