FAQ’s about Vegetable Growing Practices:
How many types of vegetables do you grow?
We currently grow 30+ different types of vegetables including winter crops in our high tunnels, favorite summer vegetables like sweet corn and tomatoes, and fall squash and pumpkin crops. You can see many of our produce items here. We also source for our farm store other local or seasonal top quality produce throughout the year.
How do you have tomatoes ripe so early in the season?
We are able to have Indiana grown tomatoes by the first part of June through our work with high tunnel greenhouses.
Tuttles is also pioneering the growing of tomatoes in high tunnels in central Indiana. High tunnels are a greenhouse canopy that are placed over the ground. Plants are planted directly into the soil. The greenhouse protects them from frost in the early spring and late fall. There is also a heater that can be used at nights to protect them from frost. We grow Heirloom tomatoes, as well as, Celebrity tomatoes in these high tunnels. These high tunnel tomatoes have a great Indiana taste, but are available early in the season (June) and late into the fall (Sep/Oct). We also grow tomatoes in the summer in our outdoor fields.
Check out some of the photos:
How are you able to grow vegetables in the winter in Indiana?
Thorough our high tunnels, we are able to plant crops in November that can produce thorughout the winter months in these greenhouse structures. A heater is not used in the winter, but the sun and greenhouse canopy provide protection for the winter type crops we grow. Lettuce or spinach may frost, but after thawing then can again be harvested. We grow lettuce, spinach, turnips, carrots, and more in our high tunnels. Check out these photos:
Photos from the High Tunnels:
What type of growing practices do you use?
At Tuttle’s we use Integrate Pest Management and sustainable growing practices. We have won many awards for having top quality produce. What is Integrate Pest Managent? The Indiana Department of Environmental Management defines IPM as: “a system that focuses on reducing pests by using a series of pest management techniques that are safe for the environment and children and use both non-chemical and chemical methods.” In following IPM practices, we use a combination of biological, chemical, behavioral, cultural, and genetic factors to control pests and disease. In using IPM, spraying is not our only method of eliminating bugs and other pests. Instead we use things like sampling plant nutrition, planting more disease resistant varieties, using natural predictors to control pests. A great deal of research has been done by Purdue University and other universities in the country to develop safe, good growing practices that can bring a balance to controlling pests through chemicals and other methods.
An example of our use of IPM is in sweet corn production: We place a trap in the field to look for moths (that can cause wormy corn). We trap and count daily the number of moths so that we are able to only spray when necessary to keep corn worm free.
Is your sweet corn GMO Free?
All of our summer varieties of sweet corn are NON GMO varieties. We do not grow any Round Up ready sweet corn.
For the fall season (Labor Day-Mid October) we grow a BT variety of sweet corn so that we can continue to grow corn for the fall season. Other summer varieties do not perform well later into the fall. This BT Corn is a GMO because it has a naturally occurring toxin from the soil inserted that discourages worms from eating the ears. It is not the same thing as Round Up Ready GMO Corn. Growing BT Corn allows us to grow fall corn without having to spray continuously for worms. You can read more about BT corn here.