Growing strawberries is the newest project on our farm. We liked the idea of intensive production of strawberries, growing them as an annual crop like berries are produced in the southern US. So we decided to give it a try, planting our first trial in 1997.
Strawberry harvest finished June 21. We picked for 30 days, starting May 20.
Because we trickle irrigating every weekday, and in hot weather we turn the sprinklers on 10 minutes out of every hour to cool off the plants, we were able to continue harvesting quality berries for several weeks. Our berry size and quality is pleasing our customers!
We plant rooted strawberry runner tips in August, and crop them the following spring. We make 60" beds, covered in plastic mulch. We plant twin rows with trickle tape between the rows under the plastic. We use solid set irrigation to help plants establish in the heat of the summer, and to protect from frost during bloom.
Runners are removed in the fall, and plants are encouraged to form multiple crowns and fruit buds by a floating cover over the entire field from late September on. This cover also warms the plants in the spring, and brings berries on early. In 1998, we picked our first berries on Mother's Day (it was an exceptionally warm spring), and in 1999 we started on May 20. Normal harvest date for strawberries would be June 10-12.
We tried about 12 varieties in 1998, and found our best varieties were Cavendish, Latestar, Kent and Camarosa. We removed the planting, and established another planting last year. We will be making our 3rd planting in late August and will try to renovate our old planting to keep it for a second year. Always trying something new!
For more information on strawberries:
See our Recipe File
Foodland Ontario Strawberry FactSheet
Ontario Berry Growers Association Strawberry Facts
British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture and Food Strawberry page
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