Feasibility of Summer (floricane) Brambles in Colorado

Project Overview

FW15-046
Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2015: $14,571.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2018
Grant Recipient: Garden Sweet
Region: Western
State: Colorado
Principal Investigator:
Amy Kafka
Garden Sweet

Annual Reports

Information Products

Commodities

  • Fruits: berries (brambles)

Practices

  • Crop Production: high tunnels or hoop houses, season extension types and construction
  • Pest Management: cultural control

    Summary:

    We propose to examine the feasibility of producing early season, floricane producing raspberries and blackberries in Colorado. Early season (late June or July) locally produced fruit is in high demand in Colorado. Fruit at this time of year sells at a premium price compared to late season fruit, and has the potential to drive sales of other early season produce at farm stands and farmers markets. Further, early season fruit ripens before spotted wing Drosophila (SWD), a new and now key berry pest, is most active in the field. Development of economically viable early season berry production techniques would both increase farm revenues and reduce management costs and losses from this pest. For producers that follow organic management practices (such as ourselves) there are few management options other than rigorous culling of damaged fruit that are effective in managing SWD damage. Shifting the majority of berry production to earlier in the season has the potential to be an environmentally and economically sustainable production strategy.

    This project will determine if active management of tunnel temperatures allows for early season raspberry and blackberry production in Colorado. With the added protection of high tunnels and minimal supplemental heat, organic floricane raspberry production in this region may be very feasible. This project will compare results from of high tunnel raspberry production to field production with row covers. Further, the data we record on the efficacy of frost and freeze protection within tunnels would be useful for many other crops grown in Colorado and other cold weather locations.

    Project objectives:

    1) Measure internal and external temperatures and determine the efficacy of fall and spring temperature management within high tunnels using a combination of:

    a. Side and end wall ventilation for cooling b. Fans for frost protection
c. Floating row cover for frost protection d. Portable heaters for freeze protection

    2) Measure the effect of fall and spring temperature management on fruiting timing and yield for 7 raspberry and blackberry varieties.

    3) Measure insect and disease pest pressure on these varieties and compare these to those seen on raspberries grown in the open.

    4) Transfer the results of this project to small growers and the public using extension publications, YouTube or other social media videos and facebook posts and field days.

    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.