Tunnel vision: Texas growers to learn how to lengthen crop production season

COLLEGE STATION — High tunnels, or “hoop houses,” that enable a producer to extend a growing season, escape frosts or thwart untimely rains, will be the topic of a special conference Oct. 2 in Bryan.

The Texas High Tunnel Conference will tag on to the Texas Fruit Conference, Sept. 30-Oct. 1. Both events, sponsored by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, will be at the Best Western Premier Hotel at Old Town Center, 1920 Austin’s Colony.

Strawberries, grown under a high tunnel, can be productive well after a frost on the Texas High Plains near Lubbock. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Russ Wallace.)

Strawberries, grown under a high tunnel, can be productive well after a frost on the Texas High Plains near Lubbock. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Russ Wallace.)

The morning session, beginning at 8:30 a.m., will pertain to reasons for growing fruits and vegetables in a high tunnel. There will be an overview on use of the structures in the U.S. and around the world plus talks on how to construct a tunnel that will endure Texas weather, selecting crops, pest management and the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s high tunnel initiative, EQIP, that may provide cost savings to growers wanting to build a high tunnel.

The afternoon session, from 1-4:30 p.m., will pertain to strawberry production in high tunnels. Speakers will talk about the challenges of strawberry production, marketing, heat and moisture stress, diseases and organic production of the fruit.

Until Sept. 22, online preregistration at http://bit.ly/1ctfiDz is $55 for the high tunnel conference and $80 for the fruit conference, or $125 for both. At-the-door registration for the fruit conference will be $90. Register by phone at (979) 845-2604. For room reservations at the hotel, call (979) 731-5300.

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