Organic Strawberry Production: Extending the Season with Low Tunnels

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2008: $10,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2011
Region: Southern
State: Alabama
Principal Investigator:
Carol Garrett
Auburn University

Annual Reports


  • Fruits: berries (strawberries)


  • Education and Training: on-farm/ranch research, workshop
  • Farm Business Management: marketing management
  • Production Systems: organic agriculture

    Proposal summary:

    Strawberries are a high value crop, especially if they can be advertised as being locally grown and pesticide-free. Farmers who can get their strawberries to the market early can obtain premium prices for them. Strawberries from Florida are available early in the year, but they are not harvested ripe and are not pesticide-free. Low tunnels provide an opportunity for local growers to economically produce early berries. Growing strawberries in a greenhouse or high tunnel requires a large monetary investment, which is not practical for the small-scale, beginning, or limited resource farmer. Low tunnel strawberry production, however, could help farmers increase their profit margin and enhance their economic sustainability. Objectives: 1. Investigate the profit potential of early strawberry production using low tunnels. 2. Compare the performance of 3 different strawberry varieties in the traditional matted row system and plasticulture under low tunnels and organic production methods. 3. Design economical and functional low tunnels that would be adapted by limited resource farmers.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.