Hoophouses/Bill Shoemaker

Bill Shoemaker wshoemak at inil.com
Fri Dec 7 11:19:54 EST 2001

>Before you look for funding check out Rutgers,they did extensive heated
high tunnel demo's in the late 80's,
>but the heating the tunnel floor its more cost effective to operate than
over head hot air heat.
>BTW...A heated hoophouse is too valuable for growing winter vegies...Bob.
>Sunny Meadow Farm
>Bridgeton, NJ.

I'm aware of some of that work. I think the lesson there, which you affirm,
is that you can't pour lot's of money into heat to grow tomatoes all winter
long. My interest is in using well-targeted heat as supplement to the solar
heat that is very available during October-November and again in
March-April. If you can avoid being hurt by the cold spikes during those
periods by supplementing heat to keep the tunnel from going below a floor
temperature level, probably 40 degrees, then you can avoid spending too much
money on heat and raise a profitable crop. Shut the thing down during Dec -
Feb, or go to cool season crops like Eliot Coleman's example. I believe
there is a way to work it out economically. Look at the competition; mexican
or florida green tomatoes. Just about anything you raise will be better
quality. I think there may be an opportunity for some pretty good gross
revenues.  I'd like to work on it anyway.

Bill Shoemaker
Sr Research Specialist, Food Crops
Univ of Illinois - St Charles Hort Research Center

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