Adapting to Low Light Growing Conditions Using High Tunnel Structures [fi14]
|Status||completed in 2018|
|Project Lead||Okanagan College|
|Funding Partners||Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, BC Ministry of Agriculture, Strategic Outreach Initiative, Terra Firma Farms, Okanagan College, Agriculture Producers|
As global temperatures rise, snowfall and accumulation will likely be reduced and replaced with increased rainfall and accompanying cloud cover. The combination of these effects over the next 30 to 50 years could have very serious implications for agricultural opportunities in the mountainous regions of BC’s interior. This project studied the viability of using high tunnel structures to improve food-crop production in locations previously seen as undesirable for commercial agriculture, and which may become even more challenging as a consequence of climate change.
This demonstration project will study the viability of winter salad green production in a low-cost, high-tunnel structure heated with a compost heat system in low light conditions, and without supplemental lighting. Data was collected on crop quality, quantity, days to harvest and planting dates. Findings on which crops are viable in the low light structure are shared in a final report, which also provides recommendations on how to construct low-cost, high-tunnel structure that will withstand snow accumulation in mountain/high altitude conditions, encourage and maintain plant growth/crop productivity and maximize light exposure and minimize input costs such as artificial lighting and heating. An overall cost-effectiveness evaluation is also included.