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Old May 25, 2017   #1
PureHarvest
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Default PH's Day Neutral Strawberry Trial

So I am trying day neutral strawberries on a small commercial scale this year.
Trying San Andreas and Albion
2 rows os SA per bed that are 1' apart in row.
3 rows Albion 1' also.
Each bed is 200' long and cover with 3 mil poly landscape fabric. Two rows up drip tape under the fabric in each bed.
I will be building 2 low tunnels over half of the area to keep rain off the fruit, preventing loss from soft rot. I got a grant from NRCS for these. If things go well and I plant again next year, I will apply for two more to cover all my production area.

Bed 1 and 2 were planted April 1.
Bed 3 and 4 were planted April 22.

4/14

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strawberry 41417b.JPG

5/1

strawberry bed3 5-1.JPG

strawberry bed1 5-1.JPG

5/24

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Last edited by PureHarvest; May 25, 2017 at 12:36 PM.
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Old May 25, 2017   #2
PhilaGardener
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Is Albion the one that looks to be growing best?

I wonder if it would be worth getting some wildflowers going somewhere to help bump up the pollinator populations?
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Old May 26, 2017   #3
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It is, but I think its because its in the first bed, and when I fertigated last, it got the most fert because I did not have enough pressure in the line. The other 3 seem to be catching up.

As far as pollinators, I planted four 900' rows last year with an NRCS grant for pollinator habitat. It has about 15 different species of flowering trees and shrubs. I then drilled in a 13 species blend of wildflower native perennials next to that over about a 1/4 acre.
This year I am doing another planting perpendicular to that that is 4 rows 600' long that is going to be 9 species of perennial native flowers from 2"x 4" deep plug trays.
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Old May 26, 2017   #4
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We grow Albion undercover. They are a very firm berry with excellent flavor.
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Old May 26, 2017   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clkeiper View Post
We grow Albion undercover. They are a very firm berry with excellent flavor.
Good to hear. That is what I am really waiting to see, the flavor. That and how long they can produce over this season, and when our temps will halt flower production in summer.

Did you overwinter them for the April crop, or terminate them in late fall?
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Old May 26, 2017   #6
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[ATTACH][/ATTACH]well, we did not plant to over winter any and the house we are actually picking from is a new planting. the old planting was severely and still is neglected. it is still producing even without much water. we will keep this planting that is new (I think) for next year and see what it does.
The flavor is excellent, a assure you.
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Old May 26, 2017   #7
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we also cover the house with the aluminet that you can see on the right side of the photo.. a bit pricier than shade cloth, but it has a different purpose. it isn't for shading it is for reflecting the heat. you might want to look into it to keep the plants producing through the summer.
The berry is pickable the day before your market, too, if you are picking for markets.
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Old May 26, 2017   #8
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Great info thanks!

I could put the aluminet over the 1/2 that will be covered by the caterpillar tunnels im gonna build.

I'm planning on not overwintering any of this years planting because they say you have to crown thin and pull off old foliage. I'd rather spend that labor on planting new plants in spring than push to have a crop in April. Berries aren't my main crop, so I can wait until June.
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Old May 30, 2017   #9
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Picked my first strawberry tonight. It was an Albion. It was excellent.
Very encouraged now for the harvest that is coming on soon.
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Old May 31, 2017   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PureHarvest View Post
I'm planning on not overwintering any of this years planting because they say you have to crown thin and pull off old foliage. I'd rather spend that labor on planting new plants in spring than push to have a crop in April. Berries aren't my main crop, so I can wait until June.
What is your market? Early berries often bring in a premium, so that might also be a bonus for an early crop.

Nice to hear about your efforts to support the local pollinator and beneficials populations! You have a nice looking operation!
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Old May 31, 2017   #11
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Quote:
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What is your market? Early berries often bring in a premium, so that might also be a bonus for an early crop.

Nice to hear about your efforts to support the local pollinator and beneficials populations! You have a nice looking operation!
fresh out of season brings a premium around here. no one else has them. I sell them for 2.50 a pint.
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Old May 31, 2017   #12
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Meticulous, like everything else. I'm convinced you do not sleep.
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Old May 31, 2017   #13
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Thanks guys. Some days it doesn't feel like I know what to do next or what I'm doing. The encouragement is appreciated.
Ricky, I credit automation and stuff like the fabric. I spent almost 0 hours weeding or hand watering.
I get home from work and out to the field by 5 every night and usually work until 730-8, except Tuesday and Thursdays (Little league games with my son) and Sunday. I'm off every other Friday and always Saturday, and typically work on something from 630 am till the evening on those days.
Some things get left undone, and the timing is never exactly what I want on some time-sensitive tasks, but everything has been coming together this year OK.
I am gonna put up my two caterpillar tunnels this Friday and Saturday, and then I need to take the rest of June and get my 30'x72' new tunnel built so I can have a crop of tomatoes in it by July for late summer/fall harvest. Next year I am not building anything or doing more pollinator plantings which took up a lot of my time the past two springs. Oh yeah, I'll have garlic to harvest in a week or so...
My market is yet to be determined, but I'm thinking the other farms' June bearing crops will be gone by the time mine kick in, so there will be no local berries to compete with. I am gonna try and sell some to co-workers, family, church etc at $4/lb.
I also know 3-4 local produce stands that I think would buy them. I wanted to wait until I had a pound container to take and show/sample before I approached them. Not sure about pricing yet.

Last edited by PureHarvest; May 31, 2017 at 11:04 AM.
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Old May 31, 2017   #14
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PH, your schedule, including little league and church sounds a lot like mine. In my area we have a couple of very popular produce stands. Those are the type of places especially in September and October where strawberries would do well. Hard to compete with Kroger this time of year, or pick your owns in June/July.
Good luck, your hard work is paying off.
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Old May 31, 2017   #15
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Thanks Gary. Having local product "out of season" is what I'm hoping my niche will be.
I try to lay off on Sundays and I did not mention that I teach elementary school kids in our Kids Min program at 830 and then attend our 2nd service from 10-11. Then take my oldest back at 5 for the Middle School group program. I'm worn out just thinking through my schedule.
It's all good though. Life's too short to sit on your butt and watch TV all day...
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