Wednesday, October 19, 2011

ISHS HIgh Tunnel Symposium

I am attending the ISHS High Tunnel Symposium in State College, PA. Yesterday we toured the high tunnels at the Penn State University Center for Plasticulture. They have 39 single bay high tunnels at this one location. They grow a wide range of crops, including some very nice looking ginger, lettuce, louffa sponge, okra, pimiento and various hot peppers, edible squash flowers,  and lots of brassica crops at this time of the year.

However, the highlight of my day was seeing primocane-fruiting blackberry and raspberry trials in tunnels. Normally central PA will get a killing frost in the first week of Ocotober. However, Kathy Demchak, the Small Fruit Extension Specialist showed us a tunnel with several numbered selections of primocane-fruiting blackberry, and they all were still producing flowers and fruit in mid October. We also saw a trial of 'Heritage' and 'Nantahala', two late varieties of raspberry that were full of fruit. We were able to sample both of these varieties and I am very pleased to report that everyone agreed that 'Nantahala's flavor was exceptional.

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