For the past 3 years, researchers, extension specialists, and growers in Iowa, New York, and Kentucky, funded by NIFA's OREI program, have been exploring new options for the organic management of cucurbit crops using mesotunnels.
Mesotunnels are larger than low tunnels but smaller than high tunnels. They are 3 ½ feet tall and are covered with a nylon-mesh fabric that keeps out pest insects and the pathogens they carry.
Field experiments and on-farm trials with muskmelon and winter squash have had varied results: some encouraging, some not. But we've learned valuable lessons about how to use these protective structures effectively.
The October 12th webinar will cover two main topics related to organic cucurbit production under mesotunnels: weed management and pollination.
Pollination is essential for cucurbit crops. Three options have been tested with mesotunnels: on-off-on (removing the covers during bloom), open ends (only the ends were opened during bloom), and full-season mesotunnels supplied with bumblebee hives. This session will be covered by Dr. Ajay Nair and Dr. Mark Williams.
For weed management, several options have been used, including landscape fabric as well as mowed and non-mowed living mulches. This session will be covered by Dr. David Gonthier and Dr. Ric Bessin.
Join us and see what we have learned in our trials across Iowa, Kentucky, and New York!