Microclimate Modification


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Many vegetable crops do not perform to their full potential in short, cool, Saskatchewan growing season. Producers can, however, modify the environment a small scale, creating microclimates more suitable for growing high value, warm-season crops.

Growers have a number of options for altering the growing environments for their crops. Below is a collection of articles outlining some of the Vegetable Program’s research into creating microclimates that benefit specific vegetable crops. The articles are available as HTML documents and PDF files.

Visit the Microclimate photo gallery
View the Mulch and Row / Crop Cover Product and Supplier list

Plastic Mulch Research

Weed Control in Row Centers
The trial evaluated several herbicides for their potential to provide long-term weed control between rows of plastic mulch.

Evaluation of Biodegradable Mulches
In trials conducted from 2007-2009 the performance of several colors of biodegradable mulch was evaluated.

Mulching Options for Sweet Corn
This trial evaluated the performance of sweet corn on various mulching treatment.

Enhancing Crop Growth with Colored Plastic Mulches
Trials conducted in 2000 and 2001 evaluate the performance of several high value warm season vegetable crops grown on a range of plastic soil mulches. The use of reflective mulches is also examined.

Influence of Mulches on Crop Establishment and Yield of Direct Seeded and Transplanted Pumpkins
Two varieties of pumpkin were grown to evaluate the effects of plastic soil mulch on crop performance.

Potential to Double-Crop Plastic Mulch.. Canadian Journal Plant Science. 88: 187-193. Waterer, D., Hrycan, W. and Simms, T. 2007.

Influence of Soil Mulches and Method of Crop Establishment on Growth and Yields of Pumpkins. Canadian Journal of Plant Science 80: 385-388. Waterer, D.R. 2000.

Rowcover Research

Tunnel Materials for Warm Season Vegetable Crops (2009-2011)
Previous trials have demonstrated the benefit of using row covers to enhance early growth of warm season
crops like melons and peppers. There are many types of covers available and it is important to select the
type of covering material that best suits the needs of the crop. This trial examined the performance of
tomatoes grown with different types of row cover.

Tunnel Materials for Tomatoes (2009-2011)
Previous trials have demonstrated the benefit of using row covers to enhance early growth of warm season
crops like melons and peppers. There are many types of covers available and it is important to select the
type of covering material that best suits the needs of the crop. This trial examined the performance of
tomatoes grown with different types of row cover.

Tunnel Materials for Warm Season Vegetable Crops (2008-2009) / (2008-2010)
Previous trials have demonstrated the benefit of using row covers to enhance early growth of warm season crops like melons and peppers. There are many types of covers available and it is important to select the type of covering material that best suits the needs of the crop. This trial examined the performance of several warm season vegetable crops (peppers, melons and tomato) grown with different types of row cover.

Plant Growth Control by Photoselective Filters
Photoselective filters developed to alter the ratio of red to far-red light in incoming sunlight offer the possibility of growing compact plants without affecting yield. Trials in 2000 and 2001 compare photoselective row covers to traditional polyethylene row covers.

CO2 Levels in Low Tunnels
Low tunnels restrict air movement to create warm and sheltered microclimates for warm season crops, but reduced airflow also creates CO2 deficits. This study looks at CO2flucuations in the low tunnel and explores the benefits of adding CO2.

High Tunnel Research

2015 – Growing Conditions and Crop Performance in 3rd Generation High Tunnels
2014 – Growing Conditions and Crop Performance in 3rd Generation High Tunnels
2013 – Growing Conditions and Crop Performance in 3rd Generation High Tunnels
2012 – Multi-Span High Tunnels
2011 – Multi-Span High Tunnels

Microclimate Related Presentations

Tips on…Mulches and Rowcovers (57.1 MB)

High Tunnel Technology – Taking the Next Step (3.2 MB)
The risks and benefits of high tunnels are discussed High tunnel technology is compared with low tunnels and other crop covering technology.

Extending the Growing Season (36.2 MB)
Presents techniques for extending the growing season suited to use by back yard gardeners.