Strawberry lovers take heart; for those who can't get enough fresh strawberries and wish the June crop produced over a longer period, there may be a solution. A new cropping technique developed by an Agricultural Research Service scientist in Kerneysville, West Virginia, produces an additional fall crop of berries from June-bearing plants. For commercial growers, this is especially good news because a fall crop commands a much higher price than a June crop.
Here's how it works. In July the small "baby runners" sprouting from the mother plant are harvested and rooted in a greenhouse under mist irrigation. They are planted into the field in early September, where these new plants produce a fall crop -- continuing even into December -- before cold weather hits. Where there is danger of fall frost, the plants need to be grown under a plastic grow tunnel to protect the developing fruit.
Researchers believe this technique will work well in the Mid-Atlantic region, but more testing is needed to determine how effective it is in other parts of the country.
For more information on this double-cropping strawberry system, go to: Science Daily News.
Article published on June 29, 2006.