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Steve Upson Articles

5 Protected Ag Technologies That Help Fruit, Vegetable Growers Face Harsh Weather

Specialty crop growers can use protected agriculture technologies to manage risks associated with growing fruits and vegetables in unpredictable, often extreme weather events. Technologies include raised beds equipped with plastic mulch film, floating crop covers, low tunnels and high tunnel hoop houses.

Advice for Successful Raised Bed, Container Gardening

Garden design is an important consideration when planning and building a raised bed or container garden that will be easy to manage.

Fall Webworms Are Back! Here’s How to Control Them

Entomologists tell us that webworm outbreaks run in cycles. Some years outbreaks are severe, while in other years they are barely noticed. Weather, birds and the predatory insect population contribute to the circular nature of these outbreaks. Heavy, driving rains can flush the worms from the foliage early in the season, reducing the level of damage.

What to Consider When Buying Land for Specialty Agriculture

Options for growing specialty crops are limited by what a property can support. Consider soil, water, climate and location when buying land for specialty crop production.

What the Produce Safety Rule Means for Growers

The consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables has been recognized for generations as a component of healthy living. However, consuming fresh produce can sometimes make healthy people sick. According...

Container Gardening: Here's What You Need to Know

During my professional career, I have witnessed the emergence and adoption of several production philosophies and technologies that continue to have a significant impact on both hobby and commercial...

Raised garden bed design downsized for construction ease

Decreased number and size of building materials makes construction easier.

Novel hoop house design offers easier equipment access

The Sloan clamshell end wall consists of a series of hoops that swivel at the base enabling the end wall to open and close.

Formula provides basis for tree appraisal

In order to receive financial compensation for the loss of a tree, a value needs to be established.

New raised bed design accommodates more gardeners

The "Easy Access Raised Garden Bed" is user-friendly and easy on the pocket book.

The Noble Research Institute Easy Access Raised Garden Bed

This construction guide is the product of more than 20 years of designing and using various types of raised beds for both hobby and commercial gardening. In particular, this design is in response to...

Backyard composting saves landfill space

Backyard composting offers property owners a proven, cost-efficient and environmentally friendly alternative to landfilling organic wastes.

Cool storage reduces produce losses

More often than not, new market gardeners are so focused on growing and marketing that they fail to plan adequately for what happens between the two - postharvest handling and storage.

New resource details hoop house construction basics

As an educator and consultant, I have been asked numerous times by work associates and growers to produce a "how to" resource on hoop house construction. I've been hesitant to do so because hoop house design and construction techniques are always evolving.

Hoop house horticulture creates many benefits

As we anticipate the start of another growing season, it is a good time to revisit the many benefits associated with hoop house crop production, including some that are under-appreciated.

Pecan Production 101

Pecan is an important crop in the Southern Great Plains. Recent USDA crop statistics report 175,542 acres of pecans in Texas and 141,765 acres in Oklahoma, with the majority of the acreage consisting...

Techniques help establish gardens, orchards in clay soil

If you are struggling to garden on tight, poorly drained clay soils or want to establish an orchard or garden on clay soils, don't despair. Many techniques can be used to make clay soils more people and plant friendly.

Using Surface Water for Drip Irrigation

Many growers have no choice but to rely on pond or stream water for irrigation because groundwater is too deep to justify the cost of drilling or the quality is too poor to be used for irrigation.

The Economics of Spinach and Tomatoes Grown in Hoop Houses

Hoop house structures are becoming increasingly popular among growers and horticultural enthusiasts. View Publication

The Economics of Strawberries and Squash Grown in Hoop Houses

Hoop house structures are becoming increasingly popular among growers and horticultural enthusiasts. To provide more economic information to growers and horticultural enthusiasts, the Noble Research...

Portable Poly Pipe High Tunnel Hoop House Construction Plans

The Noble Research Institute poly pipe hoop house was developed in response to the needs of growers for a low cost, portable structure. It is the product of three years of research and development...

The Noble Research Institute Poly Pipe Hoop House

Sometime around 2000, I began demonstrating the use of high density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe in hoop house construction. My interest in using poly pipe was primarily to find a lower cost alternative to steel pipe.

Groundwater for Specialty Crop Irrigation

Prior to beginning a specialty crop enterprise, a source of irrigation water should be established. Property sizes are often too small to justify the construction of a pond to collect surface runoff water.

The Economics of Hoop House Fruits and Vegetables

A hoop house is "a freestanding or gutter-connected covered structure, without heating or electrical power, using passive ventilation for air exchange and cooling, and an irrigation system for crop...

High Tunnel Hoop House Portable End Wall Construction Plans

A set of plans provides detailed instructions for constructing a portable end wall for use with the Noble Research Institute 14-foot-wide by 7-foot-high portable polypipe high tunnel hoop house. With...

Assessing the Value of Pecan Trees

A set of plans provides detailed instructions for constructing a portable end wall for use with the Noble Research Institute 14-foot-wide by 7-foot-high portable polypipe high tunnel hoop house. With...

Revised Raised Bed Gardening Manual Now Online

The Noble Research Institute's popular Permanent Raised Bed Gardening publication, first published in 1997, has undergone an extensive revision and is now accessible on the Noble Research Institute Web site.

Permanent Raised Bed Gardening

The Noble Research Institute Horticulture Center was created to assist the market gardener and the serious home gardener in producing high quality vegetables, fruit and flowers on marginal soils. To...

A Pint-Sized Hoop House for the Limited Resource Gardener

I realize there are many gardeners who do not have the space or the funds to construct a full-size hoop house. With this in mind, we set our sights on developing a mini hoop house or mini tunnel, a name more appropriate for its size.

The Pros and Cons of Backyard Pecan Production

The concept of growing a tree big enough to provide shade and produce delicious nuts is very appealing to homeowners. However, there are several challenges associated with growing pecan trees in an urban setting.