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High Tunnel Raspberries and Blackberries Manual Updated and Expanded

Posted: March 13, 2012

Northeast growers can capture more of the lucrative local market for fresh berries by growing brambles (raspberries and blackberries) in high tunnels. And the place for them to start is with the updated and expanded edition of High Tunnel Raspberries and Blackberries.

Cathy Heidenreich, Cornell University

High tunnels are relatively low-cost, usually unheated, plastic-covered hoop houses that can help growers fill late-spring and late-fall gaps in the market. Instead of early July, high-tunnel berries can be harvested in June. The field-grown season for brambles usually ends in early October. But growers using high tunnels continue to harvest berries through November.

Other benefits of high tunnels include:
• Floricane-fruiting raspberries and blackberries can overwinter in climates where they would otherwise be killed by cold temperatures.
• Primocane-fruiting raspberries ripen where the growing season is otherwise too short.
• Berry yields from tunnels can be two to three times greater than field-grown, and the berries can be significantly larger.
• Tunnel-grown berries also have longer shelf-life with reduced pesticide inputs.

The 50-page production guide is available free online and features sections on:
• Site and tunnel selection.
• Tunnel construction.
• Plant selection and planting.
• Care and management of plantings.
• Season extension and overwintering.
• Pest management.
• Harvest.
• Crop budgets.

The 2012 edition includes a new section on multiple-bay tunnel production, additional crop budgets, and new information on varieties, pests and diseases. The authors include researchers from Cornell University, Penn State University and Michigan State University who have helped pioneer berry production in high tunnels.

Visit http://www.fruit.cornell.edu/berry/production/pdfs/hightunnelsrasp2012.pdf to download the guide. To order print copies ($10 each includes shipping and handling), contact Maxine Welcome at mw45@cornell.edu or phone                        607-255-5439.