Kneen works mostly with commercial growers throughout Ohio in helping them to extend the growing season so that they can get top dollar for produce when fresh local produce is otherwise scarce (and thus more expensive) in groceries and restaurants. In other words, he taught us how to grow lettuce in March, how to harvest zucchinis and cucumbers in early June and to harvest peppers and tomatoes in November when you can charge twice or even thrice the market rate for the same produce in July. What works well for commercial growers can work just as well for backyard and community gardeners. In fact, community gardens could hope to become economically sustainable (and thus ween their reliance on government and grant funding) simply by raising early Spring and late Fall/early Winter crops for sale to restaurants and farmer’s markets when the prices for fresh produce are the highest. (This assumes, of course, that you have some dedicated volunteers that are willing to help raise and sell the produce at the peak market rates).
- Webinars (including handouts) on extending seasons, pest management and hoop houses: http://glvwg.ag.ohio-state.edu/projects.php#seasonextension
- USDA Community Garden Guide to Season Extension and Hoop Houses: http://www.plant-materials.nrcs.usda.gov/pubs/mipmctn5923.pdf
- NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Project: https://attra.ncat.org/
- Ohio Produce Grower and Marketers Association: http://www.opgma.org/
He said that there was a great webinar on greens and lettuces, but I couldn’t find find it. :( So, I'm going to email him at Kneen.email@example.com to find out where it is. It's possible that it's webinar 3 (from November 2010) in the OSU series above. If it is, beware that the handouts are not working during the lecture portion and you will need to open them -- particularly pretty handout 2 -- in a separate browser window.
Also Edible Columbus also had an article about extending the growing season with hoop houses in December.