Organic Strawberry Production: Extending the Season with Low Tunnels
In March of 2009 three varieties of strawberries were planted: Allstar, Camarosa, and Chandler. Two rows 25 feet long were planted in each variety. The rows were planted adjacent to each other in beds 4 feet wide with a 2 foot aisle between them. Aged manure compost and aged sawdust were added to each bed. The plants were placed one foot apart in the middle of the bed. The beds were mulched with hay.
In October of 2009 two more beds were planted to each variety. The fall planted beds had been planted to peas and beans during the summer. These beds were covered in black plastic and fertilized with worm castings prior to planting the strawberries. The plants were placed one foot apart in two rows in each bed.
The objective of the first year was to establish the different treatments for strawberry planting. Each variety was planted into 2 beds (not raised), on bare ground in the spring. One of the beds of each variety would later be covered with a low tunnel. Each variety was planted into 2 beds covered with plastic mulch in the fall. One of the beds of each variety would later be covered with a low tunnel.
The treatments for the project were successfully established. They were:
Treatment 1 Bare ground, no low tunnel
Treatment 2 Bare ground, low tunnel
Treatment 3 Black plastic, no low tunnel
Treatment 4 Black plastic, low tunnel
The 3 strawberry varieites planted were:
There were 12 treatments total: 4 treatments for each of the three varieties. The low tunnels will be placed on treatments 2 and 4 in January.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
The project is in the initial phases, but already an organic gardening class has been shown the project and told about the details. They will be following the results through the first growing season.