Year 2 Summary
Our experiment produced strawberries for 20-consecutive in 2017, the same length of time as we harvested for in 2016. This year, very told temperatures in the second week of November (19*F) turned the remaining fruit to jelly, and thus, we our last harvest was November 8, 2017.
We are currently in the process of entering our yield data, as well as the number of runners produced under different plastics and also by various varieties, and we will be sure to share this information as we can! But for now, we have a few important takeaways:
In 2017 we harvested approx. 1-1.25 lbs/plant - the equivalent of 13,000 - 16,000 lbs/acre (from July - November). Yields were greater on black and white plastic mulch than they were on bare ground (no mulch) - but were not different between black and white mulch.
A higher percentage of yields were marketable under low tunnels (80-85%) than open field production (70%), but the actual yields did not differ (meaning, the weight of marketable fruit was not greater under low tunnels, but they produced less unmarketable fruit).
The average fruit size was approx. 15 g - 16 g this year - larger than last year, when many of our plants were stunted due to soil grubs.
The six varieties we included in our variety experiment had very different growth habits, fruit characteristics, and production patterns (see below). For example, Seascape was a solid early season producer in 2017, while Aromas came into full swing late in the season. Albion and Monterey were very consistent through the mid-season. Thus, if you've experimented with only one day-neutral, it may be worth broadening your collection to fill gaps in production.
Visit the Sideman Lab website to learn about the other neat projects we are working on!
This project is funded by the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station and TunnelBerries, a USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Specialty Crops Research Initiative grant titled "Optimizing Protected Culture for Berry Crops" in collaboration with the following universities: